Hong Kong tycoon Jimmy Lai – probably the most high-profile individual to be detained underneath a controversial new safety legislation – has warned younger protesters they must be “more cautious” now.
Mr Lai was arrested on Monday, and his newspaper workplaces raided by a whole lot of police, in scenes that shocked many.
Speaking after his launch on bail, Mr Lai advised the BBC he believed his arrest was “just the beginning”.
There shall be “a long fight” forward for Hong Kong’s freedoms, he added.
Mr Lai, who has been a outstanding pro-democracy voice and a supporter of protests that erupted final 12 months, owns Apple Daily, considered one of Hong Kong’s most-read newspapers.
He and 9 different activists had been detained on Monday over allegations together with collusion with overseas forces, underneath a nationwide safety legislation imposed by China in June.
The sweep of arrests has raised fears that China will use the brand new legislation to undertake a broad crackdown on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy activists and media figures.
Speaking to Newshour on the BBC World Service, Mr Lai mentioned he was stunned when he noticed police arrive at his home on Monday morning.
While he had been arrested earlier than, this was “more scary” as a result of it got here underneath the nationwide safety legislation imposed by China, he mentioned.
Both his sons had been additionally arrested on “bogus charges”, he mentioned, though he added that he had no regrets about his pro-democracy activism.
“When I was in custody I could not sleep… I was thinking, if I knew that was going to happen to me now, [with] even more hardship [on the way], would I have done the same thing?
“I might not have [done things] one other means – that is my character,” he added.
However, he warned protesters that they would now have to be “extra cautious in our resistance to protect our rule of legislation and freedom”, as the sweeping new security law made the environment more dangerous for activists.
“We must be extra cautious and artistic in [our] resistance… we will not be as radical as earlier than – particularly younger folks – as a result of the extra radical [we are] the shorter lifespan we now have in our combating.
“We have to really use our brain and patience, because this is a long fight.”
Mr Lai’s arrest has been welcomed by Chinese state media, who’ve described him as a “riot supporter” and his publications as having been “instigating hatred, spreading rumours and smearing Hong Kong authorities and the mainland for years”.
Who is Jimmy Lai?
The businessman is estimated to be price greater than $1bn (£766m).
Having made his preliminary fortune within the clothes trade, he later ventured into media and based Apple Daily, which is regularly important of Hong Kong and mainland Chinese management.
In 2019 the every day was the most-read paid newspaper within the territory, each in print and on-line, in response to the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Mr Lai has additionally been an activist in opposition to Beijing’s more and more tight grip on Hong Kong. In 2019 he supported and took part in pro-democracy protests that lasted for months within the territory.
On Tuesday, the holding firm of Apple Daily newspaper noticed its inventory rise fourfold, as Hong Kongers rallied behind the newspaper and purchased shares within the firm following Mr Lai’s arrest.
Who else was arrested?
Mr Lai’s colleagues and two of his sons had been amongst these arrested on Monday.
Separately, outstanding youth activist Agnes Chow was arrested, as had been Wilson Li, who works as a contract journalist with UK-based ITV News, and activist Andy Li.
Ms Chow was launched on bail late on Tuesday, and advised reporters: “It’s very obvious that the regime is using the national security law to suppress political dissidents.”
What is the brand new safety legislation?
Hong Kong has had a excessive diploma of autonomy because it was returned from British to Chinese rule in 1997, and its residents have had a far greater stage of freedom of speech and media than folks on the mainland.
But the brand new legislation’s key provisions embrace that crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with overseas forces are punishable by a most sentence of life in jail.
It makes it simpler to punish protesters, and reduces Hong Kong’s autonomy.
The legislation additionally provides Beijing powers to form life within the former British colony in a means it by no means has earlier than.
Critics say it successfully curtails protest and freedom of speech. China has mentioned the brand new legislation will return stability to the territory after a 12 months of unrest.