Statement by National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien
Issued on: August 10, 2020
We are deeply troubled by the arrest of Jimmy Lai, a Hong Kong businessman, publisher, and prominent pro-democracy advocate. Two of Jimmy’s sons and several executives from his media company have also been arrested by Hong Kong authorities under the auspices of the national security law imposed by the Chinese Communist Party. Jimmy and his colleagues are powerful voices for the fundamental rights and liberties that Beijing guaranteed to the people of Hong Kong, but that it now systematically attacks. As a newspaperman, entrepreneur, and citizen, Jimmy Lai has exercised, celebrated, and defended liberty by warning what Hong Kong would be like without it.
Beijing’s national security law denies the people of Hong Kong their fundamental rights and liberties and increases the Chinese Communist Party’s control over Hong Kong’s internal affairs. These reported arrests, following the recent action by the Hong Kong government to unjustly disqualify candidates and postpone the Legislative Council elections, are the latest violations of Beijing’s commitments to the Hong Kong people and the world. These arrests are also a clear effort to intimidate pro-democracy and political opposition figures and suppress Hong Kong’s free and independent media, which have played key roles in the city’s character and success.
We stand with Jimmy Lai and his sons and colleagues, and call on Beijing to repeal the national security law and restore Hong Kong’s rule of law immediately.