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NEWSLETTER: The ‘once-unthinkable’ now an ‘imminent threat’: Could Jimmy Lai be tried in mainland C

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

NEWSLETTER: The ‘once-unthinkable’ now an ‘imminent threat’: Could Jimmy Lai be tried in mainland China?

Welcome to the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation weekly newsletter. Every week, this newsletter will bring you the latest updates and developments concerning freedom in Hong Kong. To subscribe to our newsletter, click here.

Committee News On the 5th of December, the Committee to Protect Journalists, hosted a panel discussion on press freedom and the persecution of Jimmy Lai. Panellists included international lawyer Dennis Kwok, head of Jimmy Lai’s legal team Caoilfhionn Gallagher, Jimmy Lai’s son Sebastien Lai, director of the Daphne Foundation Matthew Caruana Galizia and CFHK Foundation’s Mark Clifford, who stated: “Jimmy is a 75-year-old…in solitary confinement in a maximum security prison, they put him in 35lbs of shackles every time he goes to court…as if he is a violent international terrorist because that’s what the Chinese Communist Party wants to paint him as…someone who is dangerous.” CFHK Foundation’s Olivia Enos spoke to CBN News about the recent protests in China and the use of technology to monitor those taking part. Enos stated: “I can’t underscore this enough, how much bravery it takes for Chinese people to take to the streets. The Chinese Party is notorious for using technology…one particular application would mark activities as suspicious…those types of suspicions could be grounds for being sent to these political re-education camps.” CFHK Foundation’s Mark Clifford has quoted in in iNews, commenting on the reaction from Hong Kong officials on the “white paper” demonstration in Hong Kong to show solidarity with the protests that broke out in China on the 27thof November, Clifford stated, “it shows the authorities are determined to snuff out even the smallest acts of resistance.” Jimmy Lai “A legal battle over Hong Kong’s effort to prosecute media tycoon Jimmy Lai on national security charges has made the once-unthinkable an imminent threat: moving sensitive cases to mainland Chinese courts,”wrote Kari Soo Lindberg in Bloomberg. Jimmy Lai’s trial has been delayed until at least the 13th of December. The Acton Institute hosted a panel discussion on Jimmy Lai’s upcoming trial in Hong Kong. Guests included former advisor to the US Secretary of State Mary Kissel and Simon Lee, former Apple Daily journalist. Hong Kong Deng Zhonghua, former deputy director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO), stated that Hong Kong authorities must ensure an accurate and comprehensive implementation of the National Security Law. He also said that the central government in Beijing would continue to strengthen its supervision of Hong Kong’s executive, legislating and judicial branches, and “exercise control,” reported the South China Morning Post. China German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said that the West must “avoid the temptation to once again divide the world into blocs.” The comments have resulted in criticism of his approach to China, reported The Telegraph. Mr Scholz has repeatedly said that he sees it as unwise to “decouple” from China and that “pitting democracies against authoritarian states…would only contribute to a new global dichotomy.” A group of 42 US senators have sent a letter to the Chinese ambassador in Washington, Qin Gang, warning China against cracking down on rare widespread protests. The letter read, “We caution the CCP in the strongest possible terms not to once again undertake a violent crackdown on peaceful Chinese protesters who simply want more freedom. If that happens, we believe there will be grave consequences for the US-China relationship, causing extraordinary damage to it.” Now is the West’s opportunity to weaken President Xi Jinping as the country is distracted by internal revolt, writes Con Coughlin in The Telegraph. He writes, “Ultimately, with the Chinese Communist Party facing its sternest test since the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, we may never have a better opportunity to let Xi Jinping know there are limits to his authoritarian conduct.” In Other News A London council has rejected China’s controversial plan to build a new embassy near the Tower of London. The project would have resulted in the biggest embassy in the UK, however, Tower Hamlets Council cited safety and security concerns of nearby residents as the reason to reject the plans, reported the Hong Kong Free Press. The decision will help prevent China from further infiltrating and exerting its power in the UK.

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