CNA Staff, Nov 8, 2023 / 18:07 pm
Multiple Catholic leaders from around the world this week called upon the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to release prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy activist and Catholic Jimmy Lai, who has been imprisoned there for nearly three years.
Lai has been an outspoken democracy advocate in Hong Kong for years. He founded the tabloid Apple Daily in 1995, which took a strong pro-democracy stance in the administrative region.
Lai was originally arrested in August 2020 under that year’s controversial national security law, which was passed by China’s communist-controlled government and sharply curtailed free speech in the region in an effort to quash what the Chinese Communist Party considered subversion and sedition in the separately administered region of Hong Kong.
The law’s harsh penalties include life in prison for what the government deems sedition or terrorism, including acts such as damaging public transport facilities. Lai himself was accused of colluding with foreign adversaries and conspiracy to defraud.