Jimmy Lai
© REUTERS/Lam Yik
Media mogul Jimmy Lai Chee-ying (FILE PHOTO)
A prominent businessman and media tycoon has been jailed for one year by Chinese authorities for organizing and taking part in the unauthorized demonstrations which swept across Hong Kong in 2019 and 2020.

On Friday, Jimmy Lai, a Hong Kong billionaire and media tycoon was sentenced to one year in prison. The 73-year-old was one of nine in court on Friday who received sentences for their roles in an anti-Beijing protest which took place on August 18, 2019. Three of the nine also faced charges relating to a demonstration on August 31.

The August 18 protest was one of the largest to rock the former British colony, with an estimated 1.7 million people marching in opposition to a bill which would allow suspects to be extradited to mainland China for trial.

Chinese state news agency, Global Times, claimed Lai has also been charged with another two national security law offenses. The first being conspiracy to collude with foreign countries or forces to endanger national security and, the second, conspiracy to do one or a series of acts tending to pervert the course of justice.

Earlier this week, Lai, who is also a British national, published a hand-written letter in his Apple Daily newspaper and called on his fellow journalists to "seek justice." "As long as we are not blinded by unjust temptations, as long as we do not let evil get its way through us, we are fulfilling our responsibility," he wrote.

Beijing denied it suppressed democracy in Hong Kong after it cracked down on protests against the National Security Law, claiming its actions are aimed at ensuring Hong Kong is governed by Chinese patriots and falls in line with the rest of the country, ensuring stability across China's territory.