May 4, 2023, 5:17pm EDT
securityEast Asia

Jimmy Lai's son blasts UK for soft stance on father's imprisonment

Jimmy Lai
Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

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The son of imprisoned Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai criticized the British government on Thursday for its response to his father’s detention at the hands of the Chinese government.

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“They’ve spoken out but have not called for his release,” Sebastien Lai said during a panel with the Committee to Protect Journalists marking World Press Freedom Day, moderated by Semafor's Gina Chua.

The elder Lai, who is already serving a more than five-year jail term for alleged fraud while running pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, which shut down in Hong Kong in June 2021, faces potential life imprisonment for violating Hong Kong's National Security Law — a Beijing-imposed legislation that curtails free speech in the city. His next trial begins in September.

His lawyer, Caoilfhionn Gallagher, also criticized the reaction from London, comparing it unfavorably with actions taken by the U.S. and EU response.

“We’re pleased to see the U.S. government issuing strong advisories to U.S. businesses against doing business in Hong Kong,” Gallagher said, adding that the Biden administration has repeatedly used strong language to affirm the U.S.'s stance in supporting democracy in Hong Kong.