Hong Kong: Jimmy Lai Trial Begins

    Hong Kong: Jimmy Lai Trial Begins
    Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images News via Getty Images (Feb. 9, 2021)

    The Facts

    • Hong Kong media tycoon and democracy activist Jimmy Lai was taken before a court on Monday to stand trial on national security allegations. The 76-year-old has been in jail since December 2020.

    • Lai, along with three others, has been charged with "collusion with foreign forces" and "conspiracy to publish seditious publications." If convicted of the first charge, Lai could face life imprisonment; the latter charge could result in two years in jail.


    The Spin

    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.

    Anti-China narrative

    All that Jimmy Lai has done is demand peaceful democratic elections in Hong Kong. And the draconian charges against him are China's way of saying "forget it" in response. 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, the PRC must honor its agreements and uphold democratic principles.

    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

    PRO

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