Hong Kong: Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai and six other former staff members of the tabloid Apple Daily are set to face an additional sedition charge, under the Beijing-imposed national security law.
The prosecution imposed the additional charge on Tuesday and accused Lai and others of conspiring to collude with foreign powers under the city’s sweeping security legislation, Hong Kong Free Press reported. The group is now also accused of conspiring to “print, publish, sell, offer for sale, distribute, display and/or reproduce seditions publications.” They are also accused of doing so with the intention “to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the Central Authorities.”
Earlier this month, Lai was sentenced to 13-month imprisonment for participating in last year’s banned Tiananmen Massacre vigil.
A district court in Hong Kong convicted Lai and seven others people on similar charges and handed jail terms of between four and a half to 14 months in jail.
China controlled government’s implementation of the National Security Law has upended Hong Kong’s political environment in the past year, according to several media reports.
The city authorities now view political participation as subversive, and the authorities are targeting many across a broad cross-section of the population under the new law.
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) last month had revealed a survey of correspondent and journalist members on a wide range of issues related to press freedom since the implementation of the National Security Law in June 2020.
The survey said that the vast majority of respondents reported an overall deterioration in the working environment for journalists, noting, in particular, the unwillingness of sources to be quoted and the need for reporters to self-censor their writing or delete images.