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Australian Senator Calls For Jimmy Lai’s Release

5 July 2024 – Yesterday in Canberra, Australian Senator Alex Antic called on the Australian Parliament to demand for the immediate release of pro-democracy newspaper owner Jimmy Lai.

The Senator representing the state of South Australia and a member of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), gave the speech condemning the trial and detention of Lai and the injustice of the Hong Kong authorities' persecution of 76-year-old former owner of the Apple Daily newspaper. Lai has been accused of three conspiracy charges relating to sedition and collusion with foreign forces.

Senator Antic said: “Australia should do the right thing and join the U.S. and the United Kingdom in calling for Jimmy Lai's release. We cannot allow demonstrated Australian values of democracy and free speech to be sacrificed in our relationship with China. Jimmy Lai stood up for democracy, and it's time we all stood up for Jimmy Lai.”

Senator Antic joins a growing list of parliamentarians speaking out against Lai’s sham trial. In December 2023, the Canadian House of Commons passed a motion calling for Lai’s immediate release,  whilst MPs in France and Romania also called on their own Parliament’s to do the same. In September 2023, the Scottish Parliament lodged a motion with cross-party support, calling for Jimmy Lai’s release. Several other prominent states and bodies, including the  U.S. Congress, the European Parliament, and Special Rapporteurs at the United Nations have also called for Mr Lai’s release. 

Mark Sabah, Director UK & EU, Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation said:  

“The chorus of condemnation from around the world continues to grow and we welcome the statement made by Senator Antic in the Australian Parliament yesterday. If the Hong Kong authorities want to keep any of their global reputation intact, they should immediately release Jimmy Lai and every other political prisoner. A safe place to do business in, which Hong Kong claims to be, does not arrest journalists and newspaper owners.”

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