Jimmy Lai: Lawyer slams government for ‘radio silence’ in China-sponsored arrest of 75-year-old
A top lawyer has slammed the UK government’s “radio silence” over the China-sponsored arrest of a 75-year-old British national who is being held in solitary confinement and is now likely “to die in prison”.
Caoilfhionn Gallagher KC criticized the government’s “weak” response to the detention of British media tycoon Jimmy Lai, 75, who was jailed in December 2020 on “arbitrary” charges and now faces life imprisonment.
It comes after 40 of 100 US senators this month co-sponsored a resolution calling for a strong US response to any Chinese effort to crack down on dissent in Hong Kong and condemning “false and politically motivated charges” against Mr Lai have.
Speaking to the all-party parliamentary group on the Hong Kong Inquiry on Wednesday, Ms Gallagher claimed Mr Lai’s fraud conviction in October 2022 went “completely unnoticed” by the government and equated her response to “radio silence”.
Mr. Lai, founder of Hong Kong’s largest pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, has been critical of the Chinese Communist Party and has been held in a maximum security prison, where he has been in solitary confinement since 2021.
Caoilfhionn Gallagher KC has criticized the government’s “weak” response to China’s detention of British media tycoon Jimmy Lai (pictured), 75, who was arrested in December 2020 on “arbitrary” charges and now faces life in prison
Speaking before the all-party parliamentary group on the Hong Kong Inquiry on Wednesday, Ms Gallagher (pictured) claimed Mr Lai’s fraud conviction in October 2022 went “completely unnoticed” by the government and equated her response to “radio silence”. Pictured: Mrs Gallagher in 2016
Ms Gallagher said: “Regrettably, the UK response to Mr Lai’s detention has so far been weak.
“In December 2020 we had Dominic Raab, who made a strong statement. But we then had a period of two years when the British government was extremely quiet.
“The end result was that for those two years there was essentially radio silence on the detention of a British citizen.
“We made repeated attempts to meet with the Foreign Minister last year after Mr. Lai’s sentencing in October 2022, but we failed.
“It is shocking to me that his conviction went completely unnoticed by the British government.
“The United States has made a very robust statement and the European Union has been very strong while the UK has been silent.”
Mr Lai was “perp-walked” from his office in August 2020 and charged with four offenses under China’s draconian national security law – one of which included lighting a candle to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.
He was subsequently sentenced to 20 months in prison and last October to an additional five years and nine months in prison on two separate charges related to tenancy violations, which were described as “politically motivated”.
Mr. Lai now faces a life sentence for “collaborating with foreign powers” for publishing a newspaper highly critical of the Chinese Communist Party.
Ms Gallagher said it was “shocking” that Mr Lai’s conviction went “completely unnoticed” by the UK government. Pictured: Mr Lai, 75, is arrested in Hong Kong in 2020
But Ms Gallagher added she welcomed the “small steps” seen in recent weeks, when Secretary of State James Cleverly addressed the United Nations in Geneva in February and referred “specifically to his case”.
But she added it was “too little too late” and urged the government to do “a lot more” and be “far more robust” to defend its citizens.
The National Security Law was passed by China’s legislature and bypassed by Hong Kong lawmakers in June 2020.
It was widely seen as a response to Hong Kong’s turbulent pro-democracy movement, with millions protesting a law that would have benefited the city-state the power of the judicial system to extradite suspected criminals to stand trial in mainland China.
The NSL criminalized “secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces” and was criticized for being “vague” in attempting to stifle any dissent against the Chinese Communist Party.
According to the NGO Reporters Without Borders, Hong Kong has plummeted from 80th place to 148th out of 180 countries and territories ranked for press freedom since the law was introduced.
Ms Gallagher added: “Over the years Apple Daily has stepped on some very powerful toes. Because of this, Jimmy Lai has been targeted in a variety of ways by the authorities for decades.
“What we see here is a man behind bars who will die behind bars if more is not done in his case.”
https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/uncategorized/jimmy-lai-lawyer-slams-government-for-radio-silence-on-china-sponsored-arrest-of-75-year-old/ Jimmy Lai: Lawyer slams government for ‘radio silence’ in China-sponsored arrest of 75-year-old