|Jimmy Lai Chee-ying on left (Lai Chee-Ying (Chinese: 黎智英, [photo: 2019]),
founder of Giordano International Limited and Next Media Limited.
(Photo: Creative Commons)
(Washington, D.C.—Dec. 18, 2020) On December 16, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) reported that Commissioner Johnnie Moore “adopted” Jimmy Lai (born 8 December 1948) through the Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project [RPCP]. In the RPCP strategy, a commissioner [Johnnie Moore] “adopting” an individual [Jimmy Lai] advocates for his release. The campaign aims to direct attention and secure freedom for individuals detained, imprisoned, under house arrest, or forced to “disappear”—for expressing their freedom of religion or belief.
On August 10, 2020, Lai was arrested at his home in Hong Kong for alleged collusion with foreign forces under the new national security law, as well as fraud. On December 2, the Hong Kong police arrested Lai again for fraud and subsequently denied him bail. On December 12, Hong Kong authorities charged Lai with colluding with foreign forces, making him the first high-profile figure to be charged under the new national security law. Lai has attracted the ire of the Chinese and Hong Kong governments for his political activism and his outspoken criticism of the Chinese government’s human rights abuses, including religious freedom.“Communist China must immediately release Jimmy Lai along with Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow, and others who it has detained in Hong Kong for their advocacy of democracy, human rights, and religious freedom,” said Commissioner Moore. “A proud and strong nation has nothing to fear from the criticism of its citizens. The abysmal human rights and religious freedom record of China is incompatible with its national ambition. This is the real threat to China—not its own citizens. In the meantime, the world must speak with one loud and united voice against these atrocities. I raise my voice for Jimmy Lai and all those like him.”
Jimmy Lai in 2007.