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NUJ condemns Hong Kong media arrest

11 August 2020

The NUJ has condemned the arrest of Jimmy Lai, the high profile chairman of Next Gen and founder of Apple Daily.

He was arrested on Monday 10 August on allegations of collusion with foreign powers. The NUJ joins the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) to call on the Hong Kong government to stop all attacks on the media and drop the charges against Jimmy Lai.

Jimmy Lai, known to be critical of the Hong Kong government, was arrested at his house at around 7am and the police also arrested Jimmy Lai’s son and other members of Lai’s media group. Next Media Group publishes Apple Daily, a widely-known pro-democracy newspaper and website.

Jimmy Lai, who supported pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong last year, is being  held under the controversial new security law. The law, which came into effect on 30 June, allows the authorities to punish protesters and diminish Hong Kong’s autonomy. The law’s 66 articles remained secret until it was passed. Under the articles, authorities can criminalise any act of subversion, any actions deemed to undermine Beijing’s authority as well as any act of collusion with foreign powers.

In an  interview in mid-June, Lai described the new law as “a death knell for Hong Kong and it will supersede or destroy our rule of law and destroy the international financial status.” Although he has stated he is prepared to go to prison, he has expressed concerns that the authorities would target his journalists.

This is not the first arrest for Lai. He was also arrested on 11 June on incitement charges relating to the Tiananmen commemoration vigil. On 18 April he was arrested and charged for his role in the unlawful assembly during the Hong Kong protests in 2019.

The International Federation of Journalists said:

"The authorities must stop all the forms of intimidation against the media and supporters of democracy. The IFJ urges the Hong Kong government to immediately release Jimmy Lai and drop all charges against him."

Tags: , hong kong, china, media freedom, ifj