mandag 10. august 2020

Jimmy Lai: Hong Kong's rebel mogul and pro-democracy voice

He was 12 years old when he fled his village in mainland China, arriving in Hong Kong as a stowaway on a fishing boat. Like a number of the city’s famed tycoons, he went from a menial role, toiling in a Hong Kong sweatshop, to founding a multi-million dollar empire. But unlike others who rose to the top, Jimmy Lai also became one of the fiercest critics of the Chinese state and a leading figure in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.

His arrest on Monday is the highest-profile use of the national security law imposed on the territory by Beijing in June. He was born in Guangzhou, a city in southern China, to a wealthy family that lost everything when the communists took power in 1949. From working odd jobs and knitting in a small clothing shop he taught himself English, eventually founding the international clothing brand Giordano.