News by email Donate


2023-12-18 JIMMY-LAI rtr.JPG
2023-12-18 JIMMY-LAI rtr.JPG
World News

'#FreeJimmyLai' supporters of Christian billionaire urge UK to help as high-profile trial in Hong Kong hailed a 'mockery'

by Ros Mayfield

Supporters of the Christian billionaire and pro-democracy campaigner Jimmy Lai have branded his trial in Hong Kong a ‘charade’ and a ‘mockery of the rule of law’.  

Their claims gathered momentum, after the prosecution reportedly presented as evidence the names and photos of several foreign politicians and human rights activists, which it claimed Lai had “been in contact with” in the past. 

A group of UK politicians and senior lawyers have now written to Foreign Secretary David Cameron urging him to call for Mr Lai's "immediate and unconditional release".

The 76-year-old media tycoon began his life in Hong Kong as a stowaway on a ship from China.  After rising from poverty, he founded the now closed Apple Daily newspaper, once Hong Kong’s largest pro-democracy publication. 

He became an activist for democracy after watching Chinese tanks driving over protestors in Tiananmen Square in 1989, and converted to Christianity in the 1990s.

One of those named by the prosecution was fellow Christian and long-time friend of Mr Lai, Benedict Rogers, co-founder and CEO of Hong Kong Watch. 

He told Premier his only concern is for Jimmy Lai and his family:

“Jimmy is effectively being charged with the 'crime' of talking to politicians and activists, including me, and the 'crime' of, among other things, asking me to ask the last Governor of Hong Kong Lord Patten if he would provide a comment to his newspaper’s journalists - which, as a publisher and media proprietor, is an entirely normal, legitimate, everyday activity for journalists.

“Essentially, he is on trial for the 'crime' of conspiracy to commit journalism and conspiracy to talk politics to politicians.”

He says it illustrates the full extent of Hong Kong’s “rapid slide from open society based on the rule of law into repressive authoritarian police state.”

Lord Alton of Liverpool, a Patron of Hong Kong Watch and Vice-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Hong Kong, was first to sign a letter to Lord Cameron, calling for stronger action.  He said:

“The naming of Benedict Rogers and several other international campaigners for democracy in Hong Kong in the trial of Jimmy Lai shows this charade of a trial has nothing to do with justice. It is simply an assertion of CCP authoritarianism.

“The only conspiracy is that which is being organised by opponents of justice, democracy, and human rights. This show trial should be ended forthwith and the UK Government should say so loud and clear. #FreeJimmyLai.”

The letter, published in the Times newspaper, says that the rule of law in Hong Kong has been "dismantled".  They claim the territory, once a powerful hub for global finance has become an "unreliable place" to do business. 

The trial is expected to last for several more weeks, closely watched by several foreign governments.

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us
Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email