Jimmy Lai plotted to trigger mainland China’s collapse and install US-style democracy, Hong Kong court hears

Jimmy Lai plotted to trigger mainland China’s collapse and install US-style democracy, Hong Kong court hears

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying sought to trigger mainland China’s political and economic collapse by influencing other nations’ foreign policies, paving the way for the introduction of American-style democracy, a court has heard.

Paralegal turned prosecution witness Wayland Chan Tsz-wah on Friday said the Apple Daily founder shared his anti-China strategy with him during a meeting at the mogul’s villa in Yangmingshan, Taipei, in January 2020.

“Jimmy Lai said, according to historical experience, China’s implosion would happen very soon because the Chinese government mobilised many resources to monitor citizens,” Chan told West Kowloon Court.

The witness also testified at the mogul’s national security trial that Lai expected the country’s gross domestic product to plummet by 40 per cent due to the strategy, creating the best opportunity to push for democratic reforms.

Hong Kong tycoon Jimmy Lai backed 2020 unofficial primary election, court hears

The tycoon also laid out his four-step plan to steer foreign governments’ China policies to his favour, Chan added.

Successful lobbying, according to Lai, first called for the dissemination of information about Hong Kong to the outside world.

The next step would be to appeal to international concerns and seek condemnations, the court heard.

Chan also quoted Lai as saying the third step would be linking up with foreign officials and relaying their ideas to city activists, ensuring Hongkongers believed “foreign governments had not abandoned or given up on them”.

The final step called for regular contact with foreign political consultants and advisers, whom Lai described as “those under the table”, and to influence the policies of their respective governments, he added.

The witness said Lai believed “that would be the way to trigger sanctions against Hong Kong and even overthrow the Chinese Communist Party in the future”.

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Lai, 76, is standing trial on two conspiracy charges of collusion with foreign forces under the Beijing-decreed national security law, which took effect in June 2020. He is also contesting a third count of conspiracy to print and distribute seditious publications under colonial-era legislation.

Prosecutors accused the Apple Daily founder of using Chan as a middleman to relay his instructions to activists of the “Fight for Freedom, Stand with Hong Kong” advocacy group to instigate economic sanctions and other hostile acts from the West.

The trial continues.



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