The Daily Express has joined more than 100 news organizations calling for the release of the jailed media mogul in Hong Kong.
Jimmy Lai, a naturalized British citizen, founded a newspaper critical of the Chinese state.
The 75-year-old man was arrested in 2020 and faces life in prison on three counts, including “treason with foreign powers.”
Express editor Gary Jones signed a joint statement in support of Mr Lai and his fight for media freedom, organized by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
The statement says: “By targeting this 75-year-old emblem of press freedom, the Chinese regime has taken its attempts to control information beyond its borders and made it a global concern.
READ MORE UK ‘must fight for media freedom’ Hong Kong tycoon jailed
“When the freedom of the press is threatened anywhere, it is threatened everywhere.”
Mr. Lai’s Apple Daily, founded in 1995, was one of several mainstream Chinese media critical of Beijing.
He was arrested under Hong Kong’s national security law and is due to stand trial in September.
Campaigners say the controversial law has been used to intimidate and jail journalists as part of a crackdown on press freedom.
Hong Kong has fallen sharply on RSF’s global press freedom index, from 14th in 2002 to 140th this year.
The statement was supported by 116 media leaders from 42 countries. British signatories included the editors of The Telegraph, The Times, The Sun, The Daily Mirror and Mail Newspapers.
The announcement continues. “We are with Jimmy Lai. We believe he was targeted for publishing an independent report, and we condemn all allegations against him.
“We call for his immediate release, the dismissal of the national security charge against him and the reversal of his convictions on other charges.
“The universal right to freedom of the press must be protected for the people of Hong Kong and the whole world.”