The arrest of Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai has galvanised the city as it seeks to escape from the throngs of Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party. Earlier this week, under the new national security law, the CCP arrested the media mogul and a fierce pro-democracy advocate, Jimmy Lai who after getting bail, is determined to realise his dream of an independent and democratic Hong Kong.
Jimmy Lai ended up becoming an international sensation after he, along with his two sons, were arrested by the CCP earlier this week on Monday. Lai owns the Hong Kong’s widely read newspaper, Apple Daily, which is famed for its fiercely anti-CCP editorials. The national security law is nothing but a tool for the CCP to curtail the city’s autonomy. Under the pretext of the law, as over 200 officers stormed the publication’s newsroom and arrested Jimmy Lai. Such is the paranoia of Xi Jinping, that even Lai’s two sons were arrested under “bogus charges” according to Lai.
Lai, a self-made billionaire became an advocate of democracy after the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989. Lai who received a hero-like welcome after his release on bail has pledged to fight for the freedom of Hong Kong which has galvanised the city.
After his release, Lai told reporters, “It’s very obvious that the regime is using the national security law to suppress political dissidents.”
Lai has claimed that his arrest was “just the beginning” and that there will be “a long fight” ahead to restore Hong Kong’s freedoms. In an interview to the BBC, he said, “When I was in custody I could not sleep… I was thinking, if I knew that was going to happen to me now, [with] even more hardship [on the way], would I have done the same thing? I would not have [done things] another way – this is my character.”
Over the past few years, Hong Kong’s struggle for autonomy was led by student leaders which sometimes resulted in a radical form of protests with a shorter lifespan. Lai promises to be the mature head which Hong Kong desperately needs to lead them towards resisting the draconian rule of Xi Jinping and his stooges.
Jimmy Lai said, “We have to be more careful and creative in [our] resistance… we can’t be as radical as before – especially young people – because the more radical [we are] the shorter lifespan we have in our fighting.We have to use our brain and patience because this is a long fight.”
Lai was arrested over alleged collusion with foreign forces and if found guilty, can face the prospect of being sent to the mainland. Despite the threat of being sent to the mainland, Lai called on the USA to support the city’s right for freedoms. Lai warned that, if we don’t change [China], the world will not have peace.”
After walking free, Lai narrated his ordeal in a live-streamed session organised by an American think tank, the Heritage Foundation. During the live stream, Lai called on the Americans to lend their support as he stressed, “If they voice out their support to Hong Kong, the politicians will have to listen and react. That would be a very good stamina for us.”
He further added how China’s behaviour is against the established Western values as he claimed, “Without assimilating into Western values, there won’t be peace in international trade, politics and diplomacy.”
Such is the popularity of Jimmy Lai and his publication, Apple Daily that ever since his arrest happened, sales and stock of the publication have skyrocketed. The newspaper said it printed 550,000 copies of its Tuesday paper, compared with a regular run of about 70,000. Hong Kongers are buying large numbers of the paper and also making the same available for others.
The number of paid subscribers of the newspaper has also gone up by 20,000 since his arrest, and its total subscribers had now surpassed 600,000.
Not only have sales of the daily skyrocketed, but the stocks of Apple Daily’s parent company – Next Digital have also shot up. Many in Hong Kong bought Next Digital stock after the police raid, and its price surged by more than 1,100 per cent from Monday to Tuesday, briefly making it Hong Kong’s most valuable media holding.
In an interview to the AFP in June, Lai said, “I’m a troublemaker. I came here with nothing; the freedom of this place has given me everything. Maybe it’s time I paid back for that freedom by fighting for it.”
It seems that the troublemaker is set to lead Hong Kong’s brave fight against Xi Jinping and his army of tyrants as the city of Hong Kong is ready for the long haul.