Hudson Institute Events Podcast

The Repression of Hong Kong and Heroism of Jimmy Lai

Episode Notes

Beijing is systematically absorbing Hong Kong into its totalitarian regime in violation of China’s 1997 agreement with Britain to honor the city’s separate political, social, and economic system until 2047. Since the Chinese Communist Party imposed a sweeping national security law in June 2020, Hong Kong has seen its freedom of speech, press, and association curbed and its rule of law undermined. Mounting evidence shows that the CCP has recently begun to harness Hong Kong’s religious communities, aligning them with the CCP’s Sinicization policy, which tightly restricts religious practice and teachings on the mainland.

Jimmy Lai, the founder of Hong Kong’s Apple Daily and a self-educated entrepreneur, is now on trial. He will almost certainly be convicted by the special national security court, which boasts a 100 percent conviction rate. He faces charges of criticizing the CCP and defending democracy. Despite the CCP’s crackdown, he courageously chose to stay in his homeland in order to champion the rights and fundamental freedoms of all Hong Kongers. The CCP froze his bank accounts and forced him to shut his newspaper soon after enforcement of the national security law began. The 76-year-old has been imprisoned for three years and faces a possible life sentence.

The Wall Street Journal’s William McGurn and Hong Kong activist Frances Hui will join Nina Shea for a discussion of Lai’s heroism and the implications of his trial for Hong Kong. They will also examine the CCP’s stealth strategy to take over religious communities in Hong Kong—the last vestige of its free social system—and a possible United States policy response.