— Internet News

Jimmy Lai sentenced: Billionaire given 12 months in jail for pro-democracy demonstration

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai has been sentenced to 12 months in prison for partaking in pro-democracy demonstrations. Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai has been sentenced to 12 months behind bars for helping lead a significant pro-democracy rally. The 73-year-old billionaire was sentenced to a year while four other campaigners were jailed for eight and 18 months.

Mr. Lai, the founder of the pro-democracy Apple Daily newspaper, is one of nine other veteran democracy activists found guilty of organizing and participating in one of the biggest rallies the region has ever seen.

Organizers say 1.7 million people – almost one-quarter of Hong Kong’s population – turned out for a massive rally that formed the backbone of demonstrations that wracked the city throughout 2019.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Lai was charged with two additional crimes, another count of foreign cooperation, and trying to help local activists flee to Taiwan. These charges come under the country’s strict new National Security Law, which China implemented in Hong Kong last year.

The 2019 rallies in Hong Kong often turned violent, descending into clashes between riot police and protesters. The demonstrations posed the most concerted challenge to China’s rule since the former British colony’s 1997 handover. As a result, China has moved to crush the democracy movement, unleashing a broad crackdown on dissent and passing a radical overhaul of the city’s electoral system.

Earlier this week, Apple Daily published a handwritten letter by Mr. Lai, which he sent from prison.

“It is our responsibility as journalists to seek justice. As long as we are not blinded by unjust temptations, as long as we do not let evil get its way through us, we are fulfilling our responsibility,” he wrote. Speaking ahead of his charging hearing, Mr. Lai told the BBC that even if he were sent to jail, he would still be living his life “meaningfully”. “I came here with one dollar.

Jimmy Lai

I got everything I have because of this place,” he said. “If this is the payback time, this is my redemption,” he told the publication. Among the other defendants was Martin Lee, 82, a respected barrister known as the “father of democracy” in Hong Kong. Beijing once chose the latter to help write the city’s mini-constitution.

They include Margaret Ng, a 73-year-old barrister and former opposition politician.
Mr. Lee and Ms. Ng were also given prison terms, but their sentences were suspended.

Mr. Lee and Mr. Lai pleaded guilty to participating in another illegal assembly on August 31, 2019. The maximum penalty is five years in prison, and the sentencings are also expected to be delivered on Friday afternoon. Seven defendants who pleaded not guilty earlier submitted their mitigation on Friday morning. “There is no right so precious to the people of Hong Kong as the freedom of expression and the freedom of peaceful assembly,” said Ms. Ng, who discharged her legal team and gave her statement in person.

She added that she’s prepared to stand with and stand up for the people who “in the last resort, had to give a collective expression of their anguish and urge the government to respond”. “I stand the law’s good servant but the people’s first,” she said, whose submission ended with loud applause in the courtroom.

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button