Skip to comments.Catholic philanthropist Jimmy Lai arrested in Hong Kong
Posted on 08/10/2020 10:59:21 AM PDT by ebb tide
Arrest of media tycoon under new security law is ominous for press freedom in the city
One of Hong Kongs leading Catholic philanthropists, media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, has been arrested along with members of his family and company management as Beijing continues its swift implementation of the brutal new national security law (NSL).
Lai, 72, has donated millions of dollars to Catholic causes and has been retired Cardinal Joseph Zens biggest financial backer.
This has raised fears in some quarters that the prelate, who like Lai is a trenchant critic of Beijing, could be in the sights of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) along with other church leaders.
Cardinal Zen has previously revealed that what began as a HK$3 million (US$387,000) birthday present turned into donations of about USS$20 million one third of all donations that Lai made to various causes, many of them associated with the pro-democracy movement, according to the South China Morning Post.
The cardinal has explained that the money has been spent on a wide range of things including the so-called underground church loyal to Rome but not part of the state-run Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, sending Chinese priests to Rome and even funding Zens own trips to Rome.
Lai, who made his fortune through mid-market fashion chain Giordano before parlaying his wealth into media companies Next Media and the citys leading anti-Beijing newspaper Apple Daily, has long been one of Beings key targets in the city.
About 200 police raided the office of Apple Daily and handcuffed Lai under the NSL provision of foreign collusion along with two of his sons and two executives of Next Media. He was also charged with fraud. The NSL means Lai could be sent to the mainland for incarceration and trial.
The police operation is still ongoing and does not rule out more arrests, Hong Kong police said.
In interviews after the NSL was imposed, Lai described the new legislation as the death knell for Hong Kong.
"I'm prepared for prison. If it comes, I will have the opportunity to read books I haven't read. The only thing I can do is to be positive, " he told news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP).
He has has been the victim of violent attacks in recent years by Beijing-sponsored thugs. In February, Lai was arrested along with other pro-democracy advocates for a largely peaceful protest in August 2019 but the charges were later dropped.
Observers said the arrest of Lai is a clear message from Beijing that no one is safe from the long and brutal reach of Chinese authorities.
The NSL has criminalized comments deemed to be seditious, separatist or broadly critical of the government.
Cardinal Zen, Bishop Joseph Ha and senior representatives of the Diocese of Hongs Kong Peace and Justice Commission have made numerous statements supporting the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong and have been prominent in attending street protests against the Hong Kong government and Beijing.
Lai, who also holds United Kingdom citizenship, is the second target picked up by the newly created Office For Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong, set up to implement the NSL and answerable to Beijing. Four young student activists were arrested last month.
Beijing has also postponed elections for the citys quasi-democratic Legislative Council, due in September, by a year, citing concerns over the spread of coronavirus even though South Korea and Singapore have successfully held safe polls this year.
I dont know anything about Jimmy Lais Catholic Philanthropy - its not what he is known for in Hong Kong.
What he IS known for is running a very popular, mass-market, local cantonese media network, that hasnt been afraid to criticize Mainland China. W back in the early 1990s, he was calling Li Peng (Chinas premier during Tianmen massacre) a turtle egg. ie) bastard.
Hes always had a target on his back.
Prison might be the least of his worries. The CCP might well use torture and mind altering drugs to turn Lai into a mind wiped supporter, or just kill him.
This was most clearly demonstrated by the leaked and unconfirmed news that Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing, a critic of Beijing, freedom activist and supporter of last years street protests, has been passed over to succeed the late Michael Yeung Ming-cheung as bishop of Hong Kong. Instead, Rev. Peter Choy Wai-man, who is decidedly pro-Beijing, is expected to be handed the job.
I doubt the Brits can do much but raise a stink, but, at least they should raise a really big one.
The Vatican should also object, but will they?
In any meaningful way? It is highly doubtful.
Tonight I was watching Steve Bannon’s show.
They discussed Lai’s arrest. It sounds like Lai believed the Vatican is in bed with the CCP.
From some of the thing’s come out of Pope Francis’s mouth I wouldn’t be surprised.
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