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Convicted in Hong Kong-The Wall Street Journal



A Hong Kong court ruled on Thursday that Lai Zhimei, Martin Lee and five others organized or participated in a democratic protest. Mr. Lai is 72 years old and a billionaire. He founded and published the “Apple Daily”, which often criticizes the Chinese Communist Party and is one of the most popular news media in Hong Kong. Mr. Li is 82 years old and is known as the “Father of Democracy” in Hong Kong.

Everyone in the former British colony understands the message sent by the new Beijing masters from Hong Kong: If we can get these people, we can get you too.

This is especially true for thousands of little-known Hong Kong citizens who have also been arrested for participating in such protests. On August 18, 2019, a protest demonstration at the center of this trial attracted 1

.7 million people, which is about a quarter of Hong Kong’s population, although the police did not grant a permit.

These beliefs are the other side of the recent rewrite of Hong Kong’s election rules, which are designed to ensure that only pro-Beijing “patriots” can have power. Hanscom Smith, the U.S. Consul General in Hong Kong, explained this week that the new rules “will not produce meaningful democratic results. They are neither inclusive nor a reliable expression of the will of the people of Hong Kong.”

For China, this is a function, not an error. The real crime of those convicted this week is that they took seriously China’s commitment to autonomy for Hong Kong in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration. Today, they are only being punished for trying to make the governments of Beijing and Hong Kong fulfill this promise.


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