by Hoi Man Wu
The suppression of Hong Kong’s promised freedoms under Chinese rule should serve as a warning to the international community that Beijing will continue to export its authoritarian rule far beyond its borders, says the son of jailed Hong Kong media magnate Jimmy Lai.
“Hong Kong is a litmus test for how China views the world,” Sebastien Lai told journalists during a visit to Washington. “If they aren’t willing to respect those freedoms in Hong Kong, then the long arm of China is basically everywhere.”
“If they’re not willing to do that in Hong Kong, with all the economic benefits that come with, they’re not willing to do that in the U.S., in the U.K., in Ireland,” he said.
“You see that with the secret police stations,” Lai said. “It really shows how they view cooperation with another state; it doesn’t seem like they want friendly cooperation with democratic countries.”
Jimmy Lai’s Next Digital media empire and its flagship Apple Daily newspaper were forced to close amid a national security investigation, and he is still awaiting trial on charges of “collusion with a foreign power” and others linked to “seditious publications,” as the authorities move to disqualify his British barrister.
International press freedom groups say the ruling Communist Party under supreme leader Xi Jinping has “gutted” press freedom in the formerly freewheeling city amid an ongoing crackdown on dissent in the wake of the 2019 protest movement.
Hong Kong journalists who fled the city after Beijing imposed a national security law from July 1, 2020, continue to campaign for press freedom for the city from overseas, but say they are constantly targeted for transnational repression by agents and supporters of the Chinese state, including secret Chinese police stations in a number of countries.
Read the entire article at Radio Free Asia