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‘Sore loser’ Chinese Communist Party denies dissident Jimmy Lai his lawyer, delays trial

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

PRESS RELEASE: ‘Sore loser’ Chinese Communist Party denies dissident Jimmy Lai his lawyer, delays trial

1 December 2022 The trial of pro-democracy campaigner and British citizen Jimmy Lai has been delayed, to the 13th of December, as a ‘sore loser’ Chinese Communist Party re-writes the rules to deny Lai his choice of lawyer. Lai’s National Security Law trial was due to start Thursday 1st December in Hong Kong. Following three government losses in local courts Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee, asked Beijing to prohibit Lai from using London-based counsel Tim Owen. Instead, following multiple failed legal bids and unwillingness to let the rule of law stand, Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee has suggested that the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee should interpret the National Security Law. This is only the sixth time since Hong Kong returned from British to Chinese rule in 1997 that such an "interpretation" has been sought, with critics saying such moves undermine the city's judicial independence. His aim: to find that overseas lawyers can no longer be part of national security trials. Senior UK barrister Tim Owen had been due to represent Mr Lai. John Lee’s latest effort is just another attempt to dismantle a fair justice system in Hong Kong. Beijing has already shown they will stop at nothing to ensure Mr Lai remains behind bars for the rest of his life. Whether it is failed legal appeals, shameless propaganda campaigns via the in-house media, moving the trial or rewriting the statute book - nothing is off limits. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), via their puppets in Hong Kong, will not stop as they blunder their way to extinguishing democracy in the city.

Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation President, Mark Clifford, said: “The Chinese Communist Party are sore losers. In baseball, it’s ‘three strikes and you’re out,’ but even three resounding defeats in lower courts haven’t stopped the CCP from denying Jimmy Lai the London-based lawyer of his choice. “The CCP is so threatened by the prospect of freedom that it keeps rewriting the law to imprison a 75-year-old man simply because he refuses to buckle under its pressure. His jury-free trial held little hope for justice, but even that was too much to contend with for John Lee. “Jimmy Lai once said that the National Security Law would be a ‘death knell for Hong Kong.’ Now is the time for the international community to heed his words and join us in calling for his unequivocal release and demand that justice is restored in Hong Kong.”

About the CFHK Foundation The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation presses for political and economic consequences for China’s failure to keep its promises to respect Hong Kong’s freedoms; supports the rule of law, freedom of expression, and the release of political prisoners; and urges the business community to stand against China’s assault on freedom and the danger it poses to Hong Kong’s status as an international financial centre. Hong Kong’s fate is linked to the preservation of freedom, democracy, and international law in the region and around the world.

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