Jimmy Lai, the 73-year-old Hong Kong media tycoon and advocate for democracy, was denied bail Saturday after being charged yesterday underneath the semi-autonomous Chinese territory’s new nationwide safety regulation.
Lai faces a cost of collusion with international components to hazard nationwide safety, apparently for tweets he made and interviews or commentaries he did with international media.
The Apple Day by day, a feisty pro-democracy tabloid owned by Lai, mentioned he’s accused of asking a international nation, group or particular person to impose sanctions or have interaction in different hostile actions in opposition to Hong Kong or China.
His case was adjourned to April 16 on the request of prosecutors, who mentioned police wanted time to evaluation greater than 1,000 tweets and feedback made on his Twitter account, the Apple Daily reported.
The newspaper mentioned his cost sheet listed a number of international politicians who adopted Lai on Twitter and cited commentaries he wrote and interviews he did with international media.
Lai, who was already being held on different fraud costs after police raided his media firm, might be seen handcuffed to a sequence round his waist as guards led him to a van to go from jail to courtroom. He wore a navy blazer and an open-neck shirt.
Beijing imposed the nationwide safety regulation on Hong Kong earlier this yr after stormy protests in 2019 that began over an extradition invoice and expanded to incorporate calls for for larger democracy within the former British colony.
The brand new regulation outlaws secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with international forces to intervene in Hong Kong’s affairs. It has constricted free speech within the metropolis, and democracy activists see it as a approach to suppress dissent.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted Saturday morning Asia time that the safety regulation “makes a mockery of justice.” He referred to as for Lai’s launch, saying his solely crime is talking the reality about China’s authoritarian Communist Get together authorities.
Lai, the highest-profile particular person charged underneath the safety regulation, has additionally been arrested for different alleged offenses this yr. He has been charged with participating in unauthorized protests and with fraud over alleged violations of workplace lease phrases.
He has advocated for different international locations to take a harsher stance on China, and met with Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence within the U.S. final yr to debate the extradition invoice, which the Hong Kong authorities finally withdrew.
Pence additionally tweeted about Lai, saying the fees in opposition to him are “an affront to freedom loving individuals round in all places.”