For 30 consecutive years, Hong Kong remembered the massacre in Tiananmen Square, which occurred in 1989.
However, on June 4, 2020, citizen events in memory of the occasion were banned by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), alleging the proximity of the COVID pandemic.
Among those who defied that communist ordinance was Jimmy Lai, an influential media leader in Hong Kong, who was sentenced to 20 months in prison on December 13, 2021, following a proclamation by Judge Amanda Woodcock.
Faced with his fate, Jimmy Lai said: “If commemorating those who died because of injustice is a crime, then inflict on me that crime and let me suffer the punishment … so I may share the burden and glory of those young men and women who shed their blood on June 4 ” Lai wrote.
But Judge Woodcock found that the action of Jimmy Lai and the other defendants “was an act of defiance and protest against the Beijing police.”
The Hong Kong media mogul had long been antagonizing the CCP in the Apple Daily, a newspaper where the perverse nature of the National Security Law was constantly exposed.
Judge Amanda Woodcock is an ally of Beijing.
The China Liaison Office and the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council (HKMAO) agreed that the alleged death threats to Judge Woodcock were anti-communist.
It raised suspicions about her rulings against pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong.
Therefore, the HKMAO, the office of the CCP, was categorical when it assured that “the rule of law is the cornerstone of Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability, and in this regard, judges are the guardians of the rule of law” the Liaison Office said.
It continued in a threatening tone for such hate messages against the judge: “This kind of vile behavior not only violated the Hong Kong Crimes Ordinance, it also violated the National Security Law and should be severely punished,” the HKMAO said in a statement.
Judge Woodcock herself said: “The case required a deterrent and punitive sentence, to maintain public order against leaders such as Figo Chan of the Hong Kong Protest Coalition, Democratic Party activists such as Yeung Sum and Albert Ho, and against Jimmy Lai, the main instigator,” she said.
From RTHK radio, Johannes Chan pointed out, “citizens have mixed opinions, but mainly they question the sentences for being too long and too harsh,” he said.
The West ponders the life of Jimmy Lai
On November 2, 2022, in Washington. DC, the documentary entitled “Jimmy Lai, the Fight for Freedom” was screened, after which 100 high school students wrote messages to this freedom fighter because he sacrificed his life on the other side of the ocean.
Eric Cohen, an associate producer of the film, said, “Jimmy Lai’s life is like a microcosm of Hong Kong’s social development, where people can see the changes under the CCP government and, at the same time, understand the autocratic dictatorship of Beijing.”
Cohen told the American audience, “Jimmy Lai knew what was going to happen. He even knew everything, and still, he confronted the communist party. It is an incredible story of heroism.”
For his part, Lee Shimin, Jimmy Lai’s friend, pointed out that in 2020, when the National Security Law was forcibly passed, he thought of going into exile, but the tycoon asked him to stay and fight.
“Jimmy Lai knew the price he would pay, he still chose to stay,” Shimin said.
The importance of this international campaign led by the Committee for the Freedom of Hong Kong (CFHK) lies in the denunciation against the National Security Law, by which Jimmy was imprisoned and the principle of “one country, two systems” was overthrown.
“This campaign for Jimmy Lai’s freedom also involves high school students, who send messages to the imprisoned hero in the dark,” said Xu Yingtingting of CFHK.
For student leader April, it is important because: “there are other people in the world who chose to stay and went to jail for their beliefs, children should learn about persecution around the world and appreciate their freedom,” she said.
However, Judge Amanda Woodcock sentenced Jimmy Lai to 20 months in prison for “participating in and organizing illegal protests.” She said that Jimmy faces six other charges, including “collaborating with foreign powers and inciting illegal protests,” for which he could be sentenced to life imprisonment.