News & Politics

CPAC Cheers Hong Kong Protester 12 Hours After His Arrest for 'Unlawful Assembly'

Protesters gather on Victoria Park in Hong Kong on Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019. Thousands of people streamed into a park in central Hong Kong on Sunday for what organizers hope will be a peaceful demonstration for democracy in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD — A mere twelve hours after Hong Kong freedom fighter and entrepreneur Jimmy Lai was arrested for “unlawful assembly,” American Conservative Union (ACU) Chairman Matt Schlapp led the CPAC audience in a loud round of applause for Lai and the other protesters.

“I think it would be important for us to send a message to Jimmy and to the freedom fighters in Hong Kong that ACU and CPAC stands with them. Can you let them hear from you? Let your voice be heard,” Schlapp said to loud applause.

Gordon G. Chang, a Chinese-American lawyer and author, urged Americans to stand with the Hong Kong protesters.

“In August, the American Conservative Union, Matt Schlapp, Dan Schneider, Veronica Birkenstock, Zach Campbell, and my wife went to Hong Kong to stand with the protesters. At the end of last year, President Trump signed two Hong Kong bills. He stands with the protesters,” Chang said. “ACU stands with the protesters. We must stand with the protesters because the same regime that is attacking Hong Kong is attacking the freedoms of the United States of America. We must stand together.”

ACU Executive Director Dan Schneider told a brief story about Lai.

“Jimmy Lai is a great patriot for freedom. It was after our CPAC Japan, ACU flew into Hong Kong,” he recalled. “We had a pop-up CPAC in Hong Kong, we had several great meetings. The last event was at Jimmy’s house, and within three hours of [us] departing his house, the Chinese Communist Party had it firebombed.”

“He’s a great patriot, we need to stand with him and all the Hong Kong people,” Schneider insisted.

Indeed, CPAC hosted many conferences in the Far East last year. Tragically, Hong Kong freedom fighter Andy Chan Ho-tin was arrested on his way to CPAC Japan. A few days later, the ACU team went to Hong Kong to host a pop-up CPAC.

It was heartening to hear the CPAC audience loudly cheer the Hong Kong freedom fighters.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.