Jimmy Lai, a media mogul and opponent of the Communist Party of China, was sentenced to 69 months in prison after a long probation.
Lai was convicted of two counts of defrauding office rentals for his newspaper, the Apple Daily.
In addition to the prison sentence, Lai was ordered to pay a fine of approximately US$256,837.
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Lai, 75, was charged with fraud on December 3, 2019 for allegedly violating the terms of leasing office space for Next Digital, the media company he founded.
He was indicted again on December 12 under Beijing’s sweeping national security law, on charges of collusion with foreign forces and endangering national security.
Lai still faces charges brought against him under the national security law.
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Critics at home and abroad say the law amounts to a crackdown on political dissent and free speech that is eroding the rights and freedoms promised to Hong Kong under the “one country, two systems” framework. following the handover from British colonial rule in 1997.
Lai is among a string of pro-democracy activists and supporters arrested by Hong Kong police in recent years as authorities step up their crackdown on dissent in China’s semi-autonomous territory.
Tensions between the CCP and its critics have only increased since Lai’s original arrest.
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Chinese citizens are feeling empowered after protests against “draconian COVID-19 restrictions” led Chinese authorities to relax regulations, a human rights researcher told Fox News.
“People are fed up with the restrictions,” said Yaqiu Wang, senior China researcher for Human Rights Watch. “There is so much pent-up anger and frustration, because there have been massive human rights violations because of the restrictions, not because of COVID itself.”
Demonstrations broke out in several cities in China in the last days of November, as residents took to the streets to protest the nation’s “zero-COVID” policies. In some cities, such as Wuhan, the protests turned violent as police and residents clashed.
Jon Michael Raasch of Fox News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.