Jimmy Lai named religious prisoner of conscience by US federal commission

Published (HKT): 2020.12.17 12:47

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom adopts Jimmy Lai through the Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project for his outspoken criticism of Beijing’s abuses of human rights and religious freedom.

The 73-year-old founder of pro-democracy tabloid Apple Daily was charged for colluding with foreign powers under the new national security law and was remanded in custody until April next year.

“Communist China must immediately release Jimmy Lai along with Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow, and others who it has detailed in Hong Kong for their advocacy for democracy, human rights and religious freedom,” said Johnnie Moore of the U.S. federal government commission in a statement on Thursday.

The commission noted that 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 right abuses.

Despite his U.K. citizenship, Lai chose to remain in Hong Kong so as to advocate against the encroachment of the Chinese communist government on the city’s freedoms, the statement added.

“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,” said Moore.

The commission added that the media tycoon has been outspoken about his Catholic faith, serving as a tireless advocate for the religious freedom of Catholic Churches in China and openly expressing concern over the future of religious freedom in Hong Kong.

The Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project highlights individuals who are imprisoned, detained, under house arrest or disappeared for exercising their freedom of religion or belief.

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