Hong Kong pro-democracy media magnate Jimmy Lai charged under China's new national security law

Lai could face life in prison

Published: December 11, 2020 9:51am

Updated: December 11, 2020 10:29am

Hong Kong pro-democracy activist and media magnate Jimmy Lai has been charged under a national security law that China recently imposed on the territory. 

Lai who founded the Apple Daily tabloid, is one of more than two-dozen individuals who have been charged under the law since it went into effect in late June. He was charged Friday, according to the Associated Press.

Based on the charges, Lai, who was arrested in August, could be facing a maximum penalty of life in prison. He was denied bail and is scheduled to appear in court on December 12. 

The national security law comes as the result of persistent pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, the former British colony. The new law, which has drawn significant criticism from the U.S. and other Western nations, outlaws secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign powers. 

The Trump administration has imposed new sanctions on China in response to the pro-democracy crackdown. 

On July 1, the Apple Daily called the law the "final nail in the coffin" of Hong Kong's autonomy.

Lai has consistently spoken out against the Chinese Communist Party, and traveled last year to the U.S. to meet with Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss legislation that would loosen the Chinese Communist Party's legal grasp on Hong Kong.

Lai has been arrested several times before for taking part in pro-democracy protests.

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