Jailed media magnate and pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai began his long-delayed trial in Hong Kong yesterday for charges under China's 2020 National Security Law. The founder of the city's long-running "Apple Daily" newspaper—which shut down in 2021—has long criticized Chinese policies and faces a life sentence if found guilty.
Hong Kong, the special administrative region of China and international financial hub (see background), has enjoyed unusual independence from Communist Party control since the UK ceded it back to China in 1997. In recent years, China has asserted greater control, culminating in mass protests in 2019. In response, China promulgated the antidissent National Security Law the next year, under which nearly 300 protestors have been arrested; dozens await verdicts in a separate trial under the law.
Prosecutors charged Lai with breaching national security and sedition for his activism in news outlets and on social media. The trial is expected to last three months.