In Hong Kong, media mogul Jimmy Lai, owner of Apple Daily, was sentenced to 14 months in prison for his involvement in the mass protests of the pro-democracy opposition in 2019.
Lai, 73, is one of the most prominent activists against the increasing control of Communist China in Hong Kong. The owner of Apple Daily was arrested in August of last year on suspicion of conspiring with foreign powers. Last month, he was also imprisoned for 14 months for organizing illegal demonstrations for democracy.
Two years ago, Hong Kong residents took to the streets in large numbers, as China was increasingly undermining the autonomy of the former British colony. Especially since a law allowing the extradition of suspects to China was targeted by protesters.
With the introduction of a strict security law – criminalizing the undermining of the state and the pursuit of independence – Beijing ended the democratic protest movement last year. Thousands of protesters have been arrested on the basis of the controversial law, including notable names such as Lay.
Modify the communication system
Hong Kong’s parliament on Thursday approved a new law that will further increase China’s grip. Voters in the city-state can directly elect only 20 representatives, compared to 35 in the past. There will also be a body that scrutinizes candidates for the elections. Anyone who does not show enough “patriotism” to China will be banned.
This is the most radical reform of the electoral system in Hong Kong since 1997, when the United Kingdom transferred the city-state to China. The promise of Hong Kong to be self-governing for another half-century appears to have been forgotten.