America must stand up to China’s crackdown on freedom

MeIt’s not like President Joe Biden brought up Jimmy Lai’s name in his recent meeting with China’s president, Xi Jinping. At least the records don’t show it. But Lai’s current trial in Hong Kong represents a classic battle between a defender of freedom and a brutal government.

One of Biden’s predecessors, former President John Quincy Adams, is often quoted by those who want America to be weak abroad: “America does not go abroad looking for demons to destroy .” However in the same July 4, 1821, speech – in the immediately preceding line, in fact – Adams added that America was always with freedom against rebellion. “Wherever the process of freedom and independence has been or will be removed, he will have his heart, his benefit, and his prayer,” he said. said.

Lai deserves America’s thanks and prayers, and Biden made a mistake in not using his bully to press for his release. Lai fought for democracy for years in Hong Kong until Xi’s intransigence burned him by throwing him in prison in 2020.

The trick to follow is to tell the rest of the world the reality of Chinese communism and that Hong Kong’s position as a place in China that respects natural rights is wrong. But strong international opposition and embarrassment could prompt China to release Lai, who is 74, and let him go abroad.

Lai has been a friend of mine for many years, since I was introduced to England at that time through the pages of Wall Street Journal in 1995. I can see how he used his position as Hong Kong’s last independent publisher to keep the flame of freedom alive.

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Hong Kong was a British colony for 150 years before the colonial power handed it over to China in 1997. One of the few mistakes former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher made was agreeing to the handover. in 1984. But in his defense, the highest performance. of Communist China, Deng Xiaoping, promised in an international agreement that for half a century after ’97, Hong Kong would maintain its political and economic status. It is called “one country, two systems.”

The idea is that, despite joining China, Hong Kongers will still enjoy the freedoms they enjoyed under the Brits: freedom to trade, express, own property, organization, etc. the richest place in the world.

Xi has destroyed all of that, just as he has destroyed, in China, all the other policies that came into being after the death of Mao Zedong in 1976. According to his decision eager to become the new Mao, Xi’s Chinese Communist Party has made America’s new main enemy in the world.

The straw that broke Hong Kong back is the national security law that prohibits “attacks” and “cooperation” with foreign forces and has been a tool for Xi to control the area. Because of this law, Lai
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of conflict with a foreign country and an opposition. His trial began on December 1.

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Lai poses no threat to China’s national security, only to the CCP’s desire for power. Both Lai and Xi are obsessed with freedom – Jimmy with expanding it and Xi with crushing it. After all the other publications bent the knee to Beijing after the ’97 handover, Jimmy’s Apple Daily The Empire continues to advocate for Hong Kong’s continued freedom of life. No tyrant can live next to free information.

Over the years, Lai has opened his home in Hong Kong’s Kowloon Peninsula to other freedom-loving people. We gathered for a dinner that included other journalists and other people, including Hong Kong politicians, men and women of the church (as well as many others of Hong Kong independence supporters, including long-time opposition leader Martin Lee and top citizens. servant in the Brits, Anson Chan, Lai is Catholic), and occasionally visit different countries.

It was on his side that I met the economist Milton Friedman and his wife, Rose. In
the interview
along with Wall Street Journal During that visit, Friedman prophesied of the Chinese leadership, “They understand why free press is important. And that’s one of the reasons they don’t need. You can’t have a free press and have a centralized, controlled government.”

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It was also with Lai that I met the heroes of the Tiananmen Square movement and other people fighting for freedom and religion in China. I went to Lai baptism in the Catholic Church of Hong Kong Cathedral. A few years later, it went to my daughter.

The night of the transfer of the city to China – June 30, 1997 – I and others had dinner at Lai’s house with his beautiful wife, Theresa, and then took the Hong Kong metro to in the heart of Hong Kong. Then we went up to the balcony of the Legislative Council, where Martin Lee, now 84, the founder of Hong Kong’s democracy, addressed the crowd below . Lee, also a friend, will also be charged.

Lai’s belief is that God created mankind to be free. In words that I will never forget, he once said: “Freedom is like oxygen. We take both for granted until someone takes them away. Then the return to them is just what we think about. ”

It is for this kind of thinking that China has now killed Lai’s freedom and why the US must do everything in its power to get it back.

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Mike Gonzalez is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and author of
BLM: The New Marxist Revolution .



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