On Saturday November 2nd, the lobby of China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency in Hong Kong’s Wanchai district was set on fire and several windows and glass doors were smashed. The fire was later controlled and no casualties were reported. Xinhua (New China) News Agency, which is closely controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, is notorious as the mouthpiece of the Beijing regime.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) nevertheless firmly condemns this attack that could have had dramatic consequences. “It is normal to oppose the activities of Xinhua, which serves the interests of the Chinese State and not those of the public, however the act of setting fire on its premises does not serve in any way the cause of journalism," says Cédric Alviani, head of RSF East Asia Bureau, who expressed the concern that this incident “could serve as an excuse for new attacks against independent journalists.”
Since the beginning of the protests in June, there have been numerous cases of abuse against the media in Hong Kong, mostly perpetrated by the law enforcement or pro-Beijing gangs. The demonstrations originally started against an Extradition Bill which has since been withdrawn. Protesters’ demands have now evolved into calls for democratic reforms.