• Mon
  • Dec 29, 2014
  • Updated: 7:17pm
Jimmy Lai
NewsHong Kong
POLITICS

Jimmy Lai's 'close ties with US right-wing politicians' revealed in leaked email trove

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 August, 2014, 4:29am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 August, 2014, 11:18am

Media mogul Jimmy Lai Chee-ying has maintained close ties with right-wing politicians in the United States, according to documents leaked to the media.

The documents, mostly email exchanges between Lai's top aide Mark Simon and others, were sent to major news outlets yesterday by the same person who last month leaked information about Lai's donations to Hong Kong politicians.

The documents suggest Lai had regular contacts with US politicians. In one case, Simon acted as a go-between to set up a meeting between former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and a group of pan-democrats during her visit to Hong Kong in September 2009.

In an email dated September 4, 2009, to Meghan Stapleton - Palin's senior adviser - Simon wrote that pan-democrats "need some attention and gain a level of protection by government knowing they can get some international attention".

Palin, one of the most prominent right-wing politicians in the US, lost the election in 2008 as running mate to Republican presidential contender John McCain.

Receiving no reply from Palin, Simon wrote again on the same subject to Randy Scheunemann, who was McCain's foreign affairs adviser. Simon offered advice on how Palin should approach the media to gain positive exposure. "[The] press [in Hong Kong] is going to be very hostile, I am certain, if she does not have a say on who she sees. SCMP is bad news, Tom Mitchell from FT [ Financial Times] wore an Obama button during [the presidential election] campaign," Simon said.

"CNN International are commies, and the Brits are hopeless. WSJ edit page, CNBC, the Asian News Channels, even the Chinese government network CCTV are okay, as they are not out to get her," Simon wrote.

But last night Simon told the Post: "Here is the funny part of trying to tie Mr Lai to the US. He only went to DC two times since 2001 … Jimmy met with some think tank guys, went to dinners, hit a museum, and then was off to his hotels in Canada. He was never there more than two nights." Simon also said the meeting between pan-democrats and Palin never happened.

Email exchanges between Simon and staff of the US consulate in Hong Kong show Lai joined James Cunningham, then consul-general in Hong Kong, for a boat trip on June 20, 2008.

Lai, founder of Apple Daily, also had meetings with Cunningham's successors, Joseph Donovan and Clifford Hart.

Lai also joined a lunch with then US consul-general Stephen Young, Democratic Party founder Martin Lee Chu-ming and Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun on March 14 last year.

Simon's email exchange with former US deputy defence secretary Paul Wolfowitz also shows Lai and the former top US official travelled together to Myanmar twice - in October 2012 and June last year. Documents leaked two weeks ago show Lai paid Wolfowitz US$75,000 for his help with projects in Myanmar.

 

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This article is now closed to comments

p90gundam
wolfowitz is not a darling in US politics, he belongs to a group called neocon in usa. neocon is ultrarightist, hawkish group who hold the doctrine that world problems can be solved by US military power,that US can achieve geopolitical change at free will.US public/even most republicans by now regret that this group lie about WMD in iraq, and false blame on saddam for 9/11. they misled US to a destablizing iraq war, causing painful human cost and economical disaster in US and iraq. Fed had to hold down interest rate during war to stimulate stagnant economy, inducing real estate related bubble,US & global recession and skyrocket budget deficit into trillions after necon's initial false claim to congress/public that invasion would just cost $60 billion. Palin has no supporter except from tea party who are extremists who even at political war against the traditional conversatives.wolfowitz & Palin are basically written off by the mainstream US media/politics, so as Mccain, a hawk who is viewed by majority as senile/out of touch with reality, he advocates military intervention in libya (now a dysfunctional state after so called providing them with democracy), and intervention in syria(a regime change thru proxy that foments ISIS/alqeada which taking over iraq now and post biggest terrorist threat to world due to muslim EU citizens joining ISIS. Lai 's group association with these undesired reflect their poor judgement/mentality. They can mislead HK as their idols misled USA
robertnsparker@gmail.com
I was raised in a democratic tradition, and I happen to believe it is the best form of government. However, when support of democracy is linked to right-wing nutjobs like Sarah Palin, it strikes me the individuals concerned are not so much supporting democracy as they are acting anti Chinese.
This is particularly true when the person supporting democracy makes desparaging remarks about groups he supports.
HK-Explorer
Whether you agree with or are against Occupy Central one thing that is undeniable is that the whole thing was bought on by Jimmy Lai and his money. It was not a populous uprising but rather a well orchestrated marketing campaign by a media expert.
You cannot but help to worry that he used his skills at selling magazines to maneuver students to bring on this movement that mainly serves his personal ideology.
I Gandhi
Jimmy Lai's anti-Hong Kong conspiracy with anti-democratic agitators form the US. Shameful traitor to Hong Kong.
caractacus
This is all part of a smear campaign...
dbsscmp
I am a bit confused about what real press freedom is in Hong Kong.
When you have a person, who controls such widely read newspapers in Hong Kong, in the center of all these unsavory payments to do his 'commands', where or where is press freedom! Perhaps the Hong Kong Press or their journalists association or group, so well known for their fierce bravado to defend press freedom, should now come out and state their position. Press freedom credibility may be at stake here Clearing the fog here can be revealing in more ways than we are led to believe.
reggiedog
So Hongkongers don't really want democracy, they're being manipulated by foreigners, just like the Uighurs, Tibetans and Taiwanese. Where have I heard that line before.
Macaulay
A blatant unmitigated lie is more your style, I think:
Neocon, tick
Hawkish, tick
Lie about WMD, tick
False blame Saddam re 9/11, tick
Painful destabilizing war, tick
False invasion cost estimate, tick
Tea Party war vs. Trad GOP, tick
Libya dysfunctional, tick
Syria spawns ISIS, tick
Sensible to chase the likes of Palin, I very much doubt it!
Come on, aplucky1, face up to reality!
Dai Muff
Unfortunately this article neglects to mention that Palin was in Hong Kong in 2009 on the behalf of CLSA Asia-Pacific, and it was CLSA who refused to allow the news media any access to her (and even tried to keep them away from her speech).
Maybe the United Front has no particular axe to grind against CLSA which, by the way, was taken over by Citic Securities, headquartered in Shenzhen, in 2012.
Dai Muff
"The documents, mostly email exchanges between Lai's top aide Mark Simon and others, were sent to major news outlets yesterday by the same person who last month leaked information about Lai's donations to Hong Kong politicians."
Who?
Do HK journalists only cover what is spoon-fed to them or do they ever actually do investigative journalism? And while we're at it, who sent you the info on Henry Tang's basement?

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