10th December 2023 – (London) In a bid to exert pressure on the Hong Kong government for the release of media tycoon Jimmy Lai, his son, Sebastien Lai, has reportedly spent the past year relentlessly seeking meetings with three successive British Foreign Secretaries, only to be repeatedly rebuffed. As the 76-year-old founder of Next Digital faces an impending trial related to national security, Sebastien Lai’s attempts to secure support from the British government have thus far been unsuccessful.
According to reports, Sebastien Lai has been requesting meetings with British Foreign Secretaries since July of last year. David Cameron, who served as the Prime Minister later, is the third Foreign Secretary to receive such a request from Lai, and the third to not respond. The recent trio of British Foreign Secretaries includes Jeremy Hunt, who later briefly served as Prime Minister, Dominic Raab, who was subsequently appointed Home Secretary, and his successor, David Cameron. Sebastien Lai hopes that Cameron will align himself with Jimmy Lai’s cause, believing that a public call from Cameron for the release of his father would send a clear signal to China. He further asserts that he has no doubt that Cameron would do the right thing for the United Kingdom and its citizens.
A spokesperson for the British Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office stated that the case involving British citizen Jimmy Lai is a priority for the authorities. The U.K. government has raised the issue with the Chinese government on multiple occasions, including during a recent phone call between Cameron and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. The spokesperson also expressed the view that Jimmy Lai is facing politically motivated charges.
It has been reported that should Sebastien Lai travel to London, David Cameron would be willing to meet with him. However, this information has not been officially confirmed by the British government.