In a joint statement published on 19th August, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and an human rights NGO coalition express their concern over the steep decline of freedoms, including press freedom, since the National Security Law came into force on 30th June. The statement specifically condemns the recent arrests of Apple Daily staff and the increasingly frequent cases of harassment of journalists.
“Since Hong Kong’s handover in 1997, China has consistently schemed to increase its media control on the territory, but its attempts were hindered by the Basic Law which guarantees press freedom”, says Cédric Alviani, head of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) East Asia bureau. “Democracies must intensify their pressure on the Beijing regime to withdraw the National Security Law, which threatens the very existence of the rule of law in Hong Kong”.
The National Security Law allows the Chinese regime to directly intervene in the special administrative region of Hong Kong to suppress, with the appearance of legality, anything it deems to be “terrorism”, “secession”, “subversion” or “collusion with foreign forces”. On 10th August, Jimmy Lai, the founder of independent newspaper Apple Daily, was arrested at his home residence under the accusation of “colluding with foreign forces”, while two hundred police officers raided the news outlet’s headquarters.
Hong Kong, once a bastion of press freedom, has fallen from 18th place in 2002 to 80th place in the 2020 RSF World Press Freedom Index. The People's Republic of China, for its part, stagnates in 177th place out of 180 countries.
- Article 19
- Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD)
- Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
- Freedom House
- International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
- Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
- Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom (AJF)
Read the letter in its entirety: