Hong Kong billionaire denounces false ‘collusion’ charge
Jimmy Lai, the Hong Kong billionaire arrested under the city’s new Communist imposed national security legislation said that the charges against him by the government are false.
In echoes of recent U.S. investigations, Chinese authorities arrested Lai, his sons and some senior executives from his companies this week on suspicion of “collusion with foreign forces.”
“They’re trumped up. I can’t go further on the details,” Lai said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Friday morning according to Time. “Before any evidence, they just claimed and presumed that I’m guilty. This isn’t the way the law is. I should be presumed innocent.”
He said that Hong Kong will now share the fate of other Chinese cities under the domination of China’s Communist Party (CCP).
“Without the rule of law, the international financial center [that differentiated Hong Kong from China] will be finished,” he added.
Lai warned that in the future protesters in Hong Kong will have to be more careful, especially younger people because the CCP is much more dangerous than the government in Hong Kong and will be willing to impose the harshest penalties on opponents.
“We have to be more careful and creative in [our] resistance… we can’t be as radical as before – especially young people – because the more radical [we are] the shorter lifespan we have in our fighting,” Lai said according to the BBC.
President Trump said the arrest of Lai was “terrible,” but didn’t elaborate according to the Associated Press.
Trump’s reticence was likely out of caution for Lai’s safety, given the collusion charges against the Hong Kong democracy activist, who has spoken out against CCP bullying of the island city and the new national security law.
“The law has injected an additional measure of instability to Hong Kong as a fresh challenge to businesses in Asia’s main financial hub, which was once known for predictability more than protests,” says Time.
Hong Kong, as recently as two years ago, was still considered Asia’s financial capital, but increasingly aggressive attitude by the CCP toward incorporating the city into China in violation of autonomy agreements made by Beijing has seen business grind to a halt.
China is worried that the Hong Kong democracy movement could infiltrate into mainland China through nearby Shenzhen and Guangzhou cities as the CCP tries to tighten its grip on all aspects of life in China.
In Hong Kong it seems to be working in the short run.
“The protest movement has been reduced quite a lot,” said Lai. “A lot of young people have left or are about to leave. And some of the pro-democracy movement people have stepped aside.”
But Lai thinks the democracy movement will evolve through technology.
“Those that remain are still very strong. And more people are reacting to the national security law in a different way,” he said. “I think the movement will go on. I don’t know how they’re going to go on. We can no longer have 2 million people walk on the street. Are people going to scatter into small groups? I think in the future there will be innovation.”
PHOTO: Anthony Kwan—Getty Images
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