Hong Kong’s weekly democracy protests are on hiatus because of the coronavirus outbreak, however China is seemingly hankering for extra hearth: On Friday, it arrested three pro-democracy activists — notably, the outspoken media tycoon Jimmy Lai — for “unlawful meeting.”
That cost can cowl any public or personal assembly that takes place with out the prior consent of the commissioner of police.
Not that the Beijing-controlled institution in Hong Kong was endorsing any public shows for democracy within the first place. It actually refused to OK the Aug. 31 demonstration Lai was simply arrested for.
Due in court docket March 5, Lai and the others withstand 5 years in jail.
The arrest appears virtually designed to fireplace up the protests once more. Lai, who splits his time between Hong Kong and Taiwan, is one among freedom’s most outspoken advocates in Asia. In 1995, he based the Apple Day by day newspaper, a discussion board for fierce criticism of Beijing.
The mainland is erupting in fury over the federal government’s mishandling of the COVID-19 disaster. Lai’s arrest could also be a bid to warn off potential protests from Guangzhou to Chengdu to Shanghai.
As a result of the virus Beijing really fears is the starvation for freedom.