Next Media (00282.HK) chairman Jimmy Lai, a supporter of the pro-democracy Occupy Central movement in Hong Kong, came in for some grilling at a forum on Sunday over his meeting last month with former US deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz.
Holden Chow Ho-ding, chairman of the Young Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress, questioned Lai as to why he met Wolfowitz, who is known to favor a tough line on China.
Suggesting that the meeting was not in line with national interests, Chow cast aspersions on Lai’s motives at the forum organized by Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK).
Lai fought back accusations of impropriety, saying there was nothing wrong in meeting the former US official.
The media mogul had admitted that he met Wolfowitz in Hong Kong in May, Headline News reported Friday. The meeting is said to have taken place on board Lai’s private yacht.
Charging that Wolfowitz is not polite to China, Chow advised Lai to be cautious in his friendships.
Meanwhile, Lai said Chow only knows how to be friends with pro-Beijing media persons, and that he is not one of them.
During the forum, Chow also that said many nations have tight rules on foreign investment in media, suggesting that Lai should not seek foreign funding.
Lai countered: “Did (Wolfowitz) invest? Did I take the money? You are irrational and make a fake statement… you are shameless!”
During the RTHK “City Forum”, the civil referendum being organized by Occupy Central was one of the discussion topics.
Ho Lok-sang, founder of the Silent Majority for Hong Kong group, said the three proposals available for vote in the ongoing referendum all represent public nomination methods. As the proposals will be in violation of the Basic Law, they will not be accepted by the central government, he said.
Lai, meanwhile, said the central government is afraid of the poll outcome; that’s why it called up hackers to attack the voting website as well as the Apple Daily website.
However, Chow said the hacker incident may not have anything to do with the central government.
If it came from official channels, wouldn’t the hackers have shut down the whole system after a successful attack, he said.
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