After being released on bail last week, a new court of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), using the new National Security Law, re-arrested Jimmy Lai, the pro-democracy media mogul in Hong Kong.
On Thursday, the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal ordered pro-democracy media mogul Jimmy Lai to return to prison on charges filed under the city’s draconian National Security Law, just over a week after he was initially released on bail, Reuters reported.
Lai, one of Hong Kong’s most renowned democracy activists, was charged with association with foreign forces and arrested in August. He was granted conditional release last week, with severe restrictions, after posting $1.3 million in bail.
On Thursday, the Court ruled that the judge overseeing the case “may have made a mistake” in granting bail and therefore overturned the ruling and ordered his immediate arrest.
On Aug. 10, in addition to arresting Lai, authorities in Hong Kong arrested two of his children, Cheung Kim-hung, CEO of Next Digital, the parent company of Apple Daily, executive Chow Tat-kuen, an independent worker at British ITV and former member of the student activist group Scholarism, and Andy Li, a member of an election monitoring group, reported the South China Morning Post.
After Lai’s arrest, more than 200 police officers seized the Apple Daily newspaper’s headquarters, of which Lai was the founder, and confiscated documents and laptops.
For his part, another pro-democracy activist, Joshua Wong Chi-fung, denounced the attack through his Twitter account.
“Can you imagine the newsrooms of @nytimes or @guardian encounter something like this? After HK police arrested @JimmyLaiApple, hundreds of police were sent to Apple Daily office without the search warrant.” Wong tweeted.
Can you imagine the newsrooms of @nytimes or @guardian encounter something like this? After HK police arrested @JimmyLaiApple, hundreds of police were sent to Apple Daily office without the search warrant. pic.twitter.com/mia12rSYyP
— Joshua Wong 黃之鋒 😷 (@joshuawongcf) August 10, 2020
“This is the end of press freedom and the darkest day for journalists,” Wong added in another of his tweets, adding that the CCP has banned international coverage of the persecution, and only CCP approved news can be published.
Since the implementation of the National Security Law, under which dozens of people have been unjustly accused and arrested by the CCP in Hong Kong, it has “become a wave of self-censorship,” Axios said in a report.
The Trump administration has repeatedly expressed its repudiation of the aforementioned National Security Law, warning that it would only serve to provide a legal framework to allow censorship and repression by the CCP against Hong Kong citizens.
We are gravely concerned by the arrests of four students in Hong Kong under the new National Security Law and by the disqualification of pro-democracy electoral candidates. Beijing continues to break its promises and eviscerate Hong Kong’s autonomy.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) August 2, 2020
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, among many other authorities in the Trump administration, tweeted his concern about the illegal arrests under the controversial law.