Hong Kong Court Rejects Lai’s Bid to Dismiss Sedition Charge

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    The Facts

    • On Friday, a Hong Kong court rejected a bid by pro-democracy publisher Jimmy Lai to throw out a sedition charge against him in his landmark national security trial.

    • Lai, 76, was arrested amid the city's purge of dissidents in the wake of massive pro-democracy demonstrations in 2019. If found guilty, he may be sentenced to life in jail under a broad national security provision that Beijing enforced; he's accused of plotting to publish seditious publications and conspiring with foreign powers to jeopardize national security.


    The Spin

    Anti-China narrative

    All that Jimmy Lai has done is demand peaceful democratic elections in Hong Kong, to which the PRC has responded by saying "forget it." What Beijing seems to have missed is the underlying test of natural justice and human rights that this case is about now. For Hong Kong to remain a credible global financial and business hub, China must honor its agreements and uphold democratic principles.

    Pro-China narrative

    More than a quarter century after Hong Kong returned to PRC control, the UK hasn't gotten over its colonial hangover. London is meddling in due process and Jimmy Lai will face charges for documented seditious acts. If anything, the machinations by foreign powers to help Lai in the case only reinforce the charge of sedition against the media tycoon.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 50% chance of China ending Hong Kong's Special Administrative Region status by March 2046, according to the Metaculus Prediction community.



    Establishment split

    CRITICAL

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