The Hong Kong National Security Law, introduced by China on June 30, 2020, grants law enforcement sweeping powers to curb the four offenses of "secession, subversion, terrorist activities and collusion with foreign countries or elements." Over the year preceding the introduction of the law, since June 2019, over 10,000 people have been arrested for alleged crimes relating to pro-democracy protests, including Jimmy Lai, Hong Kong entrepreneur and pro-democracy activist.
The December 12, 2020 photo of Jimmy Lai struggling to walk as he was led to court handcuffed to a chain around his waist shocked public opinion in Hong Kong and all over the world. Chinese dissident Wang Dan, leader of the Chinese democracy movement and one of the student leaders of the1989 Tiananmen Square protests, stated that the "insult" to Jimmy Lai is the clearest evidence that Chinese President Xi Jinping and the CCP seek to crush the Hong Kong people's resolve to fight by targeting their spirits, willpower, and collective psyche.
Wang Dan wrote in an article: "Lai, who has been charged with violating the National Security Law, was denied bail and will remain in custody until April next year, when he will go on trial. The refusal of bail is itself very unreasonable... This is no longer a legal issue, but a political one. The most shocking episode came when Lai was arraigned with chains around his waist. Lai is an old man in his 70s. He is not a Kung Fu master or a notorious robber. Given the high security that accompanied Lai's transferal, which made it impossible for him to even take a few running steps, was it necessary to chain him up in such a way? I would say it was not even 1% necessary. There is only one reason for such a treatment, i.e. to humiliate Jimmy Lai."
Yet, added Wang Dan, the CCP's "arrogance" and "swagger" have been met with strong resistance in Hong Kong: "In the confrontation between Hong Kong and Beijing, there is no doubt that Hong Kong has scored an absolute moral victory."
Below is the article by Wang Dan, that appeared in the Apple Daily, a news media outlet belonging to Jimmy Lai:
The Insult To Jimmy Lai Is The Clearest Evidence Of The CCP's Intentions
"After the Hong Kong government formally congratulated U.S. president-elect Joe Biden on the phone, the city's National Security Department and police, obviously under the instructions of the Beijing authorities, launched a large-scale operation to settle the score with the Occupy Central Movement and Anti-extradition Movement. Within less than a week, Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam were sent to jail, and Jimmy Lai was quickly charged with a new crime after his detainment. As the new charge has elevated Lai's case to a new level, i.e., whether he has violated the National Security Law, a jail sentence is foreseeable. While all that was happening, there were even more prominent activists being detained and charged.
"Such a series of actions was carried out within a short period of time, showing that there was an organized, orchestrated and premeditated plan. In face of such 'red terror,' Hong Kong people are full of shock, helplessness, fear, and despair. All this is exactly what Xi Jinping desires. In other words, by ordering such a crackdown, Xi and the CCP seek to crush Hong Kong people's resolve to fight by targeting their spirits, willpower, and collective psyche.
"The insult to Jimmy Lai is the clearest evidence. Lai, who has been charged with violating the National Security Law, was denied bail and will remain in custody until April next year, when he will go on trial. The refusal of bail is itself very unreasonable. As everyone knows, Jimmy Lai could have left Hong Kong very early on if he had intended to. But he openly stated that he would rather face prosecution than leave Hong Kong. His considerable assets and Apple Daily and Next Digital Limited that he founded remain in Hong Kong, so does his family. And we do not have to mention that Hong Kong is scattered with Chinese public security agents who closely monitor Lai's every move and word. Even the media pays close attention to Lai as well.
Lai's Case Is No Longer A Legal Issue, But A Political One
"Under the circumstances, Lai does not have an incentive or possibility to skip bail and flee the city no matter how you look at his case. Still, his application for bail was turned down. This is no longer a legal issue, but a political one.
"The most shocking episode came when Lai was arraigned with chains around his waist. Lai is an old man in his seventies. He is not a Kung Fu master or a notorious robber. Given the high security that accompanied Lai's transferal, which made it impossible for him to even take a few running steps, was it necessary to chain him up in such a way? I would say it was not even 1% necessary. There is only one reason for such a treatment, i.e., to humiliate Jimmy Lai.
"The picture was so disheartening that is, unsurprisingly, featured prominently in the media reports of Western countries. The Hong Kong government, police, Beijing and Xi could not have failed to foresee that. They could have ensured that the scene would not be captured by the cameras of journalists. But their operation was such that the picture must be seen by everyone in the world, the people of Hong Kong in particular. They paid no attention to the international outcry, since what they wanted to do was to insult Jimmy Lai and the people of Hong Kong openly.
"I have to stress the word 'insult,' because it is one level above intimidation. If the Beijing authorities merely intended to intimidate Hong Kong people, the quick succession of arrests and the heavy sentencing of the activists would have achieved their aims already. Pictures of Lai in chains would have been absolutely unnecessary. The only possible explanation is 'insults.' First, of course, the insult is to Lai himself. It shows Beijing's fierce anger at Lai, who has refused to buckle under such considerable political pressure. Such anger, almost on a personal level, impelled Xi not only to punish Lai, but also to humiliate him. That a major power like China has resorted to such a way to humiliate an unarmed old man shows that the CCP regime under Xi's leadership has completely put aside its façade of decency.
The CCP's Arrogance And Swagger Have Met With Strong Resistance In Hong Kong
"When it comes to Hong Kong, only an insult can give Xi Jinping a sense of satisfaction. This is because, in a speech made by Di Dongsheng, Xi's adviser, we can see that the CCP can bring senior politicians in Western countries (such as the U.S.) to heel with U.S. dollars. But such arrogance and swagger have met with strong resistance in Hong Kong.
"Furthermore, in the confrontation between Hong Kong and Beijing, there is no doubt that Hong Kong has scored an absolute moral victory. For Xi Jinping, who is full of confidence about himself, there is no greater humiliation than this, and that also poses a serious challenge to his authority in the CCP and China. Xi's hatred towards Hong Kong people and their representatives such as Joshua Wong and Jimmy Lai is hardly unimaginable. This is the fundamental reason why Beijing must go to such extraordinary lengths to humiliate Jimmy Lai and Hong Kong people."
 See MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 1543, Under Hong Kong's New National Security Law, Authorities Arrest Top Pro-Democracy Activists, December 17, 2020.
 Hk.appledaily.com, December 17, 2020.