BEIJING (Reuters) - China supports the arrest of media tycoon Jimmy Lai by Hong Kong police, state media said on Monday, stressing the need to "severely punish" those who collude with foreign forces to endanger national security.
Lai, 71, has been one of the most prominent democracy activists in the Chinese-ruled city and an ardent critic of Beijing, and is now the highest-profile person arrested under the new national security law in Hong Kong.
A spokesman for China's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office told the Xinhua agency that Lai was a representative of people who were "anti-China, anti-Hong Kong" and who were a danger that must be removed before there could be peace in Hong Kong.
"He arrogantly called on people to fight for the United States, participated in the planning, organisation and instigation of a series of illegal protests," Xinhua quoted the spokesman as saying.
He said that Lai also funded pro-independence forces and used his media to spread rumours and instigate violence.
The spokesman said Lai and the others arrested on Monday should be severely punished, to show that "justice may be late but never absent".
(Reporting by Yew Lun Tian; Editing by Kevin Liffey)