Hong Kong: European Parliament denounces obstructions to Jimmy Lai’s trial monitoring

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) commends a resolution adopted by the European Parliament that denounces the obstruction of an RSF representative to trial monitoring and urges the Hong Kong government to release publisher Jimmy Lai.

The European Parliament adopted on 25 April a resolution denouncing Hong Kong authorities’ “obstructions to trial monitoring”, after RSF representative Aleksandra Bielakowska was detained, searched, and questioned for six hours at Hong Kong's international airport before being deported from the territory. Bielakowska was originally on a mission to monitor a hearing in the trial of Jimmy LaiApple Daily founder. 

The European Parliament also called on authorities to “immediately and unconditionally release and drop all charges against Jimmy Lai” and Andy Li, a key “witness” in Lai’s trial who was reportedly tortured and is believed to be forcibly held in a psychiatric institution. The resolution also highlights the new domestic National Security Law, which is “undermining the freedom of the press,” and “calls on the authorities to stop harassing and prosecuting journalists.”

“We welcome the adoption of this much-needed resolution, which highlights the recent blatant violations on press freedom by the Hong Kong and Chinese authorities, including the regrettable arrest and deportation of an RSF representative. It is now paramount that all democracies supporting the principle of right to information build up pressure on the regime to restore full press freedom in Hong Kong and mainland China.

Antoine Bernard
RSF Director, Advocacy and Assistance

Detention and deportation of Bielakowska on 10 April marks the first time that an RSF representative has been denied entry or held at the Hong Kong airport. RSF representatives, including Bielakowska, successfully entered the territory in June 2023 and again in December 2023, when they monitored the opening of Jimmy Lai’s trial

Since the adoption of the National Security Law by the Chinese regime in June 2020, the Hong Kong government has been leading an unprecedented campaign against the right to information, resulting in the prosecution of at least 28 journalists and press freedom defenders, 10 of whom are currently detained. In the past three years alone, authorities forcibly shut down two major independent media outlets, Apple Daily and Stand News, while the climate of fear led at least six other media outlets to cease operations, including most recently the local bureau of US-funded broadcaster Radio Free Asia

Hong Kong ranks 140th in RSF’s 2023 World Press Freedom Index, having plummeted down the rankings from 18th place in just two decades. China itself ranks 179th of the 180 countries and territories surveyed.

135/ 180
Score : 43.06
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