Jimmy Lai's de­spi­ca­ble legacy of fo­ment­ing chaos in Hong Kong

Global Times US Edition - - FORUM - Page Ed­i­tor: yu­jin­[email protected]­al­times.com.cn

The ma­jor­ity of peo­ple in Hong Kong have had enough of pro­longed rad­i­cal protests and vi­o­lence since June. They are es­pe­cially fed up with me­dia ty­coon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying who has con­tin­u­ously fanned so­cial dis­or­der and even vi­o­lence.

Lai, founder of Next Dig­i­tal and the tabloid Ap­ple Daily news­pa­per, has played an im­por­tant role in fo­ment­ing the cur­rent chaos and in­sta­bil­ity in Hong Kong.

By invit­ing ex­ter­nal forces to med­dle in Hong Kong af­fairs, Lai shows how ea­ger he is to serve as a po­lit­i­cal tool of for­eign pow­ers to op­pose the main­land and cause chaos in Hong Kong.

Over the years, Lai has tried to desta­bi­lize Hong Kong and will­fully pushed his own po­lit­i­cal agenda. His ac­tions chal­lenged the bot­tom line of the “one coun­try, two sys­tems” prin­ci­ple and threat­ened China's sovereignt­y.

Lai bought his sta­tus as a proxy in Hong Kong by do­nat­ing to US po­lit­i­cal par­ties. It is through him that for­eign anti-china forces chan­nel fund­ing to op­po­si­tion lead­ers and a small frac­tion of “Hong Kong in­de­pen­dence” forces.

Mean­while, Lai fre­quently met with politi­cians in the US. In July, he was re­ceived by US Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence and Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo to dis­cuss de­vel­op­ments re­lated to amend­ments to the fugi­tive of­fend­ers or­di­nances and the sta­tus of Hong Kong.

Lai was be­lieved to be the “black hand” be­hind Hong Kong's Oc­cupy Cen­tral protests in 2014.

A year be­fore the in­ci­dent, he went to the is­land of Tai­wan to learn street protest tac­tics. Lai also used the me­dia he con­trolled to spread dis­in­for­ma­tion to the pub­lic, spread ru­mors, and fan the fire of ha­tred and fear against the Chi­nese main­land.

Lai as­sumed an ac­tive role in the cur­rent round of protests and vi­o­lence. The Ap­ple Daily news­pa­per that he owns printed ads di­rectly call­ing on peo­ple to take to the street, and cre­ated an echo cham­ber to de­fame the law­ful ef­forts of the Hong Kong Spe­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion (HKSAR) govern­ment to fix loop­holes in the le­gal sys­tem. His smear cam­paign mis­led many peo­ple in Hong Kong.

Even though the HKSAR govern­ment has an­nounced on many oc­ca­sions that the amend­ments have been halted, Lai demanded more. Glo­ri­fy­ing ri­ot­ers and van­dal­ism, and vil­i­fy­ing the po­lice, Lai de­clared: “As I watched the pro­test­ers kick­ing the po­lice, I felt an ut­most sense of re­lief.”

As Hong Kong reeled from rad­i­cal protests and vi­o­lence, an in­creas­ing num­ber of peo­ple – re­tail­ers, tour guides, restaurate­urs, taxi and truck driv­ers – earned less and suf­fered from eco­nomic hard­ships, while Lai prof­ited hand­somely from the in­sta­bil­ity.

Af­ter rad­i­cal protests gripped Hong Kong since June, the mar­ket value of Lai's me­dia com­pany sky­rock­eted. The mar­ket value of Next Dig­i­tal, of which Lai is the ma­jor­ity stake­holder, surged more than 80 per­cent in a week af­ter Hong Kong sank into chaos.

De­spite his no­to­ri­ety, Lai branded him­self a spokesper­son of the Hong Kong peo­ple. But what he is do­ing is ac­tu­ally to hi­jack the fu­ture of the Hong Kong peo­ple.

Lai claimed that the West has the obli­ga­tion to lend sup­port to “change not only the fu­ture of Hong Kong but even that of the whole of China,” a bla­tant con­fes­sion of who he is loyal to.

His­tory has proven time and again that any­one who be­trays his coun­try for per­sonal gains will al­ways be nailed to the pil­lar of shame in his­tory. This is a com­men­tary of the Xin­hua News Agency. opin­[email protected]­al­times.com.cn

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