Friday, June 01, 2007

Hong Kong: Jimmy Lai on Hong Kong after the 1997 handover

Jimmy Lai? Founder of the Giordarno clothing chain, Jimmy Lai mass-produced t-shirts supporting the students and workers occupying Tiananmen Square in 1989. Soon after, Lai set up the weekly Next Magazine.

The magazine's formula? Two magazines published together: one section devoted to tabloid sensationalism and lifestyle, the other one full of hard-hitting political and business reporting.

Unrelenting in his support for democracy, Lai remains critical of China:
In a 1994 newspaper column, he told the Premier of the PRC, Li Peng, to "drop dead," and called the Communist Party of China "a monopoly that charges a premium for lousy service". As a result, most of his publications remain banned in mainland China. China's government retaliated against Lai by starting a shut-down of Giordano shops, prompting him to sell out of the company he founded in order to save it.
Source: Wikipedia

(Giordano has continued to grow and currently now has 1,700 stores and sales points in Hong Kong, China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, Australia, India and the Middle East.)

Knowing that 1997 was imminent, in 1995 Lai started up a newspaper, Apple Daily. Like the magazine, Apple Daily has been very successful -- despite physical attacks as well as financial blockades and supplier and (continuing) advertising boycotts.

In 2001, Lai started up a Taiwan edition of Next Magazine and followed up with a Taiwan edition of Apple Daily in 2003. Again. as was the case in Hong Kong, both publications -- despite strong local opposition -- have proved immensely successful.

Now in Apple Daily: Hong Kong Ten Years After The Return To China, by Jimmy Lai. English translation courtesy of ESWN

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