Beijing rebukes U.K.’s critique of Jimmy Lai prosecution as meddling in Chinese sovereignty

Jimmy Lai

11th December 2023 – (Hong Kong) The Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong has issued a statement condemning the comments made by a spokesperson for the U.K.’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office regarding the case of media tycoon Jimmy Lai. The Chinese authority accused the U.K. of disparaging the National Security Law in Hong Kong and providing support to those it deems as destabilising forces against China.

The statement, delivered last night, asserted that Hong Kong prides itself on being a society governed by the rule of law where no individual stands above the legal system. The spokesperson for the Office emphasised that the judicial bodies of the Special Administrative Region (SAR) conduct their duties with strict adherence to legal protocols, embodying the principles that law shall be strictly enforced, offenders duly prosecuted, and judicial independence respected, without any external interference.

The Foreign Office’s spokesperson highlighted the hypocrisy of certain nations that, while outwardly advocating for the rule of law and judicial independence, continue to excuse and glorify individuals involved in organizing and participating in what the Chinese authority termed as ‘colour revolutions’ in Hong Kong. These individuals are portrayed as ‘democratic fighters’, which the statement described as a blatant intervention in Hong Kong’s judicial affairs and a clear demonstration of double standards.

The rebuke comes in response to claims made by the U.K. Foreign Office that the prosecution of Jimmy Lai and others under the guise of national security is an effort to suppress critical voices. A spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in the U.K. has sharply criticised the U.K.’s stance, accusing it of inverting right and wrong and interfering with the rule of law in Hong Kong. The Chinese authorities stand firm in their position that any criminal activity in the SAR should receive the sanctions it deserves according to the law. The statement reiterates China’s demand that the U.K. respect the facts, cease involvement in Hong Kong’s affairs, and halt any interference in China’s internal matters.