The ordeal of Jimmy Lai

One might understand the true meaning of resistance from observing the ordeal of Hong Kong’s Jimmy Lai. He resists the tyranny of the CCP regime and goes on trial for it today. Among the accessible stories reporting on the commencement of trial is the BBC’s here. The Wall Street Journal has a highly sympathetic story by Austin Ranzy and Elaine Wu here (behind the WSJ paywall) as well as the supporting December 16 editorial “Hong Kong puts itself on trial” (ditto). The Ranzy/Wu story reports:

The most high-profile case of Hong Kong’s yearslong effort to snuff out dissent after protests rocked the city began on Monday as newspaper tycoon Jimmy Lai went on trial under the national security law imposed by Beijing.

Lai, a child immigrant to the city who built a clothing and media empire, was among the most defiant critics of China’s Communist Party and a prominent backer of 2019 pro-democracy demonstrations through his now-closed Apple Daily.

Chinese officials and state media for years targeted Lai with fierce criticism. Last week, the country’s foreign ministry described him as “one of the most notorious anti-China elements bent on destabilizing Hong Kong and a mastermind of the riots that took place in Hong Kong.”

“If you put it in a ranking, they hate him more than anyone else,” said Victoria Hui, an associate professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame.

Lai, 76, faces possible life imprisonment if convicted on charges of collusion with foreign forces. He has also been charged with publishing seditious material under a colonial-era law that long sat dormant before being taken up again after the protests that swept across Hong Kong.

And this:

Sebastien Lai, the media mogul’s youngest son who now lives in Taipei, said his father—a British passport holder—was willing to face the risk of imprisonment to encourage others who shared his beliefs.

“Dad staying in Hong Kong is really proof that this intangible thing called liberty is a thing that people yearn for,” he said. “You can call it Western values, but it’s not really, in the sense that it’s not something that only people in the West want or deserve.”

For some reason our homegrown voices of “resistance” and “oppression” don’t seem to have the time of day for Lai. We can at least salute him for his bravery, note the justice of his cause, and decry his persecution.

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