Countries should stop using press freedom as a weapon to undermine the rule of law in HK: Chinese FM
Published: Jul 11, 2021 07:26 PM
Hong Kong File photo

Hong Kong File photo

The Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) condemned a statement that a few countries had signed to criticize the shutdown of Apple Daily, An office spokesperson asked these countries to stop using press freedom as a weapon to undermine the rule of law in the HKSAR. 

The “Media Freedom Coalition’’ statement, signed by a few countries, accuses the HKSAR judiciary of using the National Security Law for Hong Kong to suppress journalism. A move that is nothing short of a gross interference in China's internal affairs, and a blatant trampling on the SAR's rule of law and judicial independence, said the spokesperson of the office of the commissioner on Sunday. 

The so-called Media Freedom Coalition statement was jointly signed and released on Friday by 21 countries including the US, the UK, Canada and Australia. In the statement, these countries expressed concerns about the shutdown of Hong Kong tabloid Apple Daily, and said there was an “increased media censorship.”

The spokesperson of the Office of the Commissioner of the Chinese Foreign Minister dismissed the accusation, noting that Apple Daily was a “poisonous apple” that has long been engaged in illegal acts in the guise of a media to scourge the country and disrupt Hong Kong. 

“Apple Daily seriously deviated from professional journalistic ethics and damaged the ecology of the Hong Kong media. The person in charge of the newspaper was suspected of colluding with outside forces to endanger national security, and was taken by the SAR police in accordance with the law,” said the spokesperson, “This [the shutdown of Apple Daily] is a legitimate move to uphold the rule of law in Hong Kong and a common voice of the general public in Hong Kong. It has nothing to do with freedom of press and speech.”

“Some countries have the audacity to glorify and excuse such lawless anti-China rhetoric, chaotic media and their practitioners, attempting to use them to exert pressure on the law enforcement and judicial authorities of the SAR. This is a serious violation of the media's conscience and once again reveals their sinister intentions,” the spokesperson noted. 

The spokesperson stressed that freedom of the press is not a weapon for engaging in illegal and criminal activities, nor is it a way for external forces to meddle in Hong Kong affairs.

“We urge the members of the so-called ‘Media Freedom Coalition’ to abide by international law and the basic norms of international relations. They should stop engaging in ugly acts of meddling in Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs under the guise of freedom of the press,” said the spokesperson. “Otherwise they will be resolutely countered by all Chinese people.”

The secessionist tabloid Apple Daily stopped publication after issuing its last edition on June 24 amid mounting financial pressure. Some of its senior executives were arrested on suspicion of violating the national security law for Hong Kong.

Global Times
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