RSF calls for release of Hong Kong radio host, sentenced to 2 years and 8 months in prison under colonial-era sedition law
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urges Hong Kong authorities to release radio host and political commentator Edmund Wan Yiu-sing, who was sentenced on 7th October 2022 to two years and eight months in prison under a rarely-used colonial-era sedition law.
“By resurrecting an archaic sedition law to imprison an influential political commentator, the Hong Kong government shows its determination to make an example and deter other journalists from questioning its narratives”, says Cédric Alviani, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) East Asia Bureau Head, who urges the international community to pressure the Beijing regime and the Hong Kong government to “secure Wan’s release alongside all other journalists and press freedom defenders detained in Hong Kong and in the Mainland.”
Hong Kong D100 internet radio channel host Edmund Wan Yiu-sing, better known as “Giggs”, 54, was sentenced on 7th October 2022 to a total of two years and eight months in prison for “sedition” under a rarely-used colonial-era law, and for alleged “money laundering”. He was also ordered to hand over HK$ 4.87 million (about € 633,000) of his assets.
According to the prosecution, Wan hosted a total of 39 “seditious” programmes between February and November 2020 in which he allegedly called to “resist or overthrow the Chinese Communist Party” and advocated for “Hong Kong independence” and “Taiwan self-determination.” In February 2020, the radio host also called for donations on his website and on social media, which the judge considered a case of “money laundering”.
Over the past two years, the Hong Kong government has been leading an unprecedented campaign against press freedom that included the forced shutdown of independent media outlets Apple Daily and Stand News and the prosecution of at least 22 journalists and press freedom defenders, 13 of whom are currently detained.
In a report titled The Great Leap Backwards of Journalism in China, published on 7th December 2021, RSF revealed the system of censorship and information control established by the Chinese regime and the global threat it poses to press freedom and democracy.
Hong Kong, once a bastion of press freedom, has plummeted from 80th place in 2021 to 148th place in the 2022 RSF World Press Freedom Index, marking the index’s sharpest drop of the year. China itself ranks 175th of the 180 countries and territories evaluated.