Imprisonment of Hong Kong Catholic activist must end, says Irish Bishop

Bishop Alan McGuckian has called for the release of Hong Kong pro-democracy activist, former media owner and Catholic Jimmy Lai, who has been imprisoned for nearly three years.

The bishop of Raphoe signed a petition, along with nine other bishops from eight countries.

Mr Lai was arrested in August 2020 under a controversial law imposed by Beijing to quash what the Chinese Communist Party considered subversion and sedition in region of Hong Kong.

In September, he marked his 1,000th day in prison awaiting trial on further charges.

The prelates wrote that “Mr Lai’s persecution for supporting pro-democracy causes through his newspaper and in other forums has gone on long enough”.

“There is no place for such cruelty and oppression in a territory that claims to uphold the rule of law and respect the right to freedom of expression,” they said.

The Hong Kong government rejected the petition, calling it “misleading and slanderous”, and said it “interferes” with juridical proceedings in Hong Kong.