Son of jailed tycoon Jimmy Lai says it’s in Hong Kong’s interest to free him

Sebastien Lai, son of Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai, holds an indication calling for the discharge of his father on the sidelines of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, September 27, 2023. REUTERS/Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber Acquire Licensing Rights

GENEVA, Sept 27 (Reuters) – The son of Jimmy Lai, a media tycoon jailed in Hong Kong, mentioned on Wednesday it was in the interest of the previous British colony to launch his father and never let him die in jail.

Sebastien Lai, who was in Geneva to participate in a British-organised occasion on media freedom in Hong Kong, has not seen his 75-year-old father in three years.

“I am optimistic because I believe that there’s no benefit in the Hong Kong government having my father die in jail,” Sebastien Lai mentioned on the prospect of his father’s launch.

“He’s a pro-democracy activist, a publisher, and he’s also an incredibly peaceful man… Now that they’ve taken all that he has, keeping him in prison is just cruel.”

Jimmy Lai is the founder of now shut pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily and one of essentially the most outstanding Hong Kong critics of China’s Communist Party management, together with President Xi Jinping.

This week he marked his 1,000th day in a Hong Kong jail on expenses associated to a regulation on nationwide safety that Beijing imposed on Hong Kong in 2020 after months of anti-government protests.

The regulation punishes acts together with subversion, collusion with international forces and terrorism with up to life in jail.

Sebastien Lai – who mentioned his father, a British nationwide, was not being granted consular entry – described his father as a person who all the time led by instance.

“Of course, he’s human. He fears,” Sebastien Lai mentioned. “But he knows that he can’t bend to that fear.”

In the run-up to Wednesday’s occasion, China’s diplomatic mission in Geneva had pressed nations to boycott it, saying points associated to Hong Kong had been inside Chinese affairs.

Despite calling for a boycott, the Chinese mission despatched a consultant to the occasion, who mentioned it amounted to meddling in China’s affairs.

In a separate assertion, the commissioner’s workplace of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong accused the United Kingdom and United States of “maliciously slandering” the nationwide safety regulation and “blatantly supporting the anti-China and disruptive Hong Kong activist Jimmy Lai.”

Rebecca Vincent, director of campaigns at Reporters Without Borders, who additionally took half in the occasion, welcomed China’s presence.

“The Chinese government, frankly, does not like to hear from organizations like us,” she mentioned. “I hope they took careful notes and report everything back to Beijing because they should hear what we have to say.”

Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber in Geneva; Additional reporting by Farah Master in Hong Kong; Editing by Andrea Ricci

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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