Hong Kong’s press chief and figure of the pro – democracy movement was released on bail overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday. His newspaper, very critical of power, the Apple Daily, has shown its willingness to continue the fight.
Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai, arrested on Monday, August 10, during a police operation in the name of security legislation imposed by China, was released on Tuesday night, while his pro-democracy daily, the Apple Daily, published his will to continue the fight. The septuagener withdrew from a Hong Kong police station around midnight (17 GMT), flanked by his lawyers and in the middle of a crowd of supporters, who celebrated his victory.
Jimmy Lai, the rich press magnate, was one of ten people arrested on Monday in a huge breakdown against the pro-democracy movement, before about 200 police officers attacked the newspaper’s newsroom, very critical of Beijing.
Hong Kong people rushed to newsstands on Tuesday to get the Apple Daily, which had predicted this request by drawing an exceptional 550,000 copies, compared to 70,000 in normal times. A restaurateur in the working-class district of Mongkok bought about 50 copies and explained that he intended to distribute them free of charge to his customers. “Because the government does not want the Apple Daily to survive, we Hong Kong people must save it ourselves,” the man said, calling himself Ng.
Outstanding attack on press freedom
“We will fight,” was announced in an Apple Daily on Tuesday, a promise written in bright red on a full-page photo of Jimmy Lai framed by police.
His arrest led to a wave of stock purchases in his Next Digital press group. Between Monday morning and the stock market closed Tuesday night, the title took more than 1100%. The arrests and the search were condemned as “outstanding” attacks on press freedom, of which Hong Kong was once a fortress.
Seen in Beijing’s response to months of protocratic protests in Hong Kong in 2019, the National Security Act introduced on June 30 gives local authorities new powers to crack down on four types of state security violations: subversion, separatism, terrorism and collusion with foreign powers.
Read also >> In Hong Kong, the government promises to “forcefully” enforce national security legislation
Many democracy activists condemn a freedom-thinking text that, according to them, ends with the principle “One country, two systems”, which guaranteed until 2047 for Hong Kong’s peoples’ freedoms unknown in the rest of China.
Concerns about the United States
Several foreign leaders have expressed concern about this new breakdown, including the head of US diplomacy Mike Pompeo, whom Jimmy Lai met last year. The secretary of state said he saw his arrest as “further evidence that the Chinese Communist Party has lost Hong Kong’s freedoms and the rights of its people.”
As a reminder, Jimmy Laia was arrested for collaborating with foreign forces and fraud. An initiative hailed by Beijing, which presented it as “an anti-Chinese troublemaker” who has conspired with foreigners to “cause chaos”.
Two of his sons were also arrested, as were young pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow and Wilson Li, a former activist who worked as a freelance journalist and worked for the British channel ITV News.
With AFP and Reuters