According to Reuters, Jimmy Lai, a Hong Kong-based media mogul and owner of the Apple Daily newspaper, has been arrested on suspicion of collusion with foreign forces.
If anyone had doubts that recent changes in laws in China have eliminated a free and independent Hong Kong, Lai’s early Monday arrest should serve as a rude awakening.
“Go with the flow”
According to Reuters, the offices of the Apple Daily were raided by about 200 police officers on Monday morning.
Officers reportedly routed through files and searched employees, eventually arresting 10 people, including Lai. But the media mogul seemed to shrug it off as business as usual.
“We can’t worry much, we can only go with the flow,” the 71-year-old said, according to Reuters.
“Eviscerated” and “eroded”
But while Lai may not be worried, the rest of the world is — and that includes U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
According to Reuters, Pompeo said in a tweet Monday that he was “deeply troubled” by Lai’s arrest, which he said proves that the Chinese Community Party has “eviscerated” Hong Kong’s freedoms and destroyed the rights of its citizens.
I’m deeply troubled by reports of the arrest of @JimmyLaiApple under Hong Kong’s draconian National Security Law. Further proof that the CCP has eviscerated Hong Kong’s freedoms and eroded the rights of its people.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) August 10, 2020
The show goes on
As Pompeo alluded, Hong Kong has been the site of crumbling freedoms for months. When the once-independent city “returned” to China, it did so on the premise that it would operate outside of the control of the Chinese Community Party (CCP). But in recent months, that all changed.
A new law put in place at the end of June seems to allow Chinese police to arrest anyone they deem as a threat to the nation’s “national security.”
Of course, those in the media quickly became prime targets. But Lai isn’t letting that stop him from fighting for Hong Kong’s freedom. Reuters reported that Lai promised in May to stay in the city “and continue to fight for democracy.”
Only time will tell if Lai will get to see his dream become a reality for Hong Kong — but in the meantime, the staff at the Apple Daily isn’t backing down. According to Reuters, a Tuesday edition of the paper will be published. The show must go on.