The Big Ideas

'Convicted in Hong Kong'

The Wall Street Journal

The Editorial Board
'Convicted in Hong Kong'
'Convicted in Hong Kong'
No items found.
Martin Lee, founder of the Hong Kong Democratic Party, leaves the West Kowloon Magistrates Courts following of a hearing in Hong Kong on April 1.

April 1, 2021
BIG IDEA | ‘Everyone in the former British colony understands the message being sent from Hong Kong’s new masters in Beijing:’
‘If we can get these men, we can get you too.’

First thing every morning for the past couple or so weeks, I’ve checked to if the verdict was in.

  • On April 1, it was.

‘A Hong Kong court Thursday convicted Jimmy Lai, Martin Lee and five others of organizing or taking part in a pro-democracy protest.'

  • ‘Mr. Lai, 72, is a billionaire who founded and publishes Apple Daily, which is a frequent critic of the Chinese Communist Party and among Hong Kong’s most popular news outlets.
  • ‘Mr. Lee is 82 and known as Hong Kong’s “father of democracy.” '

‘Everyone in the former British colony understands the message being sent from Hong Kong’s new masters in Beijing:'

  • ‘If we can get these men, we can get you too.'

‘That’s especially true for the thousands of other Hong Kong citizens, far less well known, who were also arrested on charges relating to participating in such protests.’

  • ‘The Aug. 18, 2019, protest at the center of this trial drew 1.7 million people, which is roughly a quarter of Hong Kong’s population, though police had not granted a permit.’

‘The convictions are the flip side of the recent rewrite of Hong Kong’s election rules meant to ensure that only pro-Beijing “patriots” hold positions of power.’

And in a bit of unintended irony, Politico reports:’

  • ‘The decision fell the day after Beijing replaced Hong Kong’s elections system, one that had allowed the expression of some political opposition since the city’s 1997 handover from Britain to China.’
  • ‘The new framework eliminates the chance that voters who favor democracy could elect a majority of representatives to counter Beijing’s demands.’