Hong Kong refuses to release Jimmy Lai as fears of religious repression mount

The Hong Kong government has dismissed a petition from ten bishops to release the Catholic entrepreneur and democracy activist Jimmy Lai from prison.

The government accused the bishops of using “distorted words” that verge on “contempt of court”.

The Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney, Archbishop John Wilson of Southwark and Bishop Alan McGuckian of Raphoe were among the signatories of the appeal launched on 1 November.

They said that Lai’s support for democracy through public interventions and his since-closed newspaper, Apple Daily, was no cause for imprisonment.

Lai was arrested in 2020 under a draconian national security law and has been in prison for more than 1,000 days, with prosecutors now threatening a life sentence.

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