UK calls for repeal of Hong Kong’s national security law Hong Kong’s government strongly refutes

UK calls for repeal of Hong Kong’s national security law Hong Kong’s government strongly refutes


British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly presented a new “Hong Kong Semi-Annual Report” to Congress, highlighting Beijing’s continued non-compliance with the Sino-British Joint Declaration and calling on Beijing and Hong Kong to repeal the Hong Kong National Security Law. In response, the Hong Kong government rebutted strongly, urging Britain to stop interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs, which were “only China’s internal affairs.”

(Deutsche Welle Chinese website) On May 25, the British Foreign Office presented the “Hong Kong Half-Yearly Report” to Parliament on the implementation of the “Sino-British Joint Declaration” in Hong Kong from July 1 to December 31, 2022. Adherence to the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the continued erosion of Hong Kong’s civil and political rights and high degree of autonomy calls for Beijing and Hong Kong to repeal the Hong Kong National Security Law. The report notes that the rule of law in Hong Kong has been eroded, including the transfer of “powers that once belonged to the judiciary” to pro-China Hong Kong leaders. Lawyers must apply in advance and be approved by the chief executive to be eligible to take part in national security cases, and those facing national security charges cannot challenge government decisions in the court, among other things. The report also mentioned that the British side paid close attention to reviewing the political and judicial systems of the Hong Kong government, including the electoral reform of district councils, which significantly reduced the number of directly elected seats.

In the foreword to the report, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly wrote that he was speaking at a United Nations hearing in February about how the Hong Kong authorities used the national security law to suppress opposition figures. Many of them were imprisoned or forced into exile. Qi Zhanming called on Beijing to implement the recommendations of the UN Human Rights Council in an independent report last July, including the cancellation of the national security law imposed by Beijing on Hong Kong in 2020.

Qi Zhanming mentioned Li Zhiying’s case to Han Zheng

Qi Zhanming wrote: “Together with our partners, we condemn the continued erosion of (Hong Kong’s) civil and political rights.” The authorities “deliberately target democrats, journalists and prominent politicians in an attempt to silence and discredit them”. “Jimmy Lai, who is a dual citizen of the United Kingdom who is being held in custody, is such a figure,” added Qi Zhanming, 75, who founded the pro-democracy Apple Daily. The newspaper was raided and closed by the police in 2021.

Qi Zhanming said he raised Jimmy Lai’s case with Chinese Vice President Han Zheng this month. The report did not mention whether Qi Zhanming had contact with Han Zheng personally or through other channels. In early May, Han Zheng represented China at the coronation ceremony of King Charles III of the United Kingdom.

Hong Kong Says Goodbye to Apple Daily

Jimmy Lai

“Apple Daily” was founded in 1995 by wealthy businessman Jimmy Lai. Li Zhiying, who smuggled herself from Guangdong to Hong Kong as a teenager, publicly supported the 89 democracy movement, and was sanctioned by the mainland authorities for this. After he established Next Media Co., Ltd. in 1990, he published newspapers and magazines such as Next Magazine, and later expanded to television, Internet and other media. In 2003, he founded Taiwan’s “Apple Daily”. Li Zhiying once bit into an apple in a TV commercial and said, “An apple a day, no one can deceive me!”

Hong Kong Says Goodbye to Apple Daily

Undermining the Hong Kong Press

In order to attract readers, “Apple Daily” adopts color printing, fashionable typesetting and colloquial headlines, and the content is also comprehensive. In just a few months after its publication, the newspaper completely overturned the rules of the game in the Hong Kong newspaper industry. However, the newspaper did not hesitate to sense in order to sell. Because of the paparazzi culture, showing pornography and violence, etc., it was accused of being too exciting and entertaining, and from time to time it went to moral charges and judicial disputes. But his investigative reporting has also been recognized by readers. According to the 2019 media credibility survey conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, “Apple Daily” was ranked third among paid newspapers in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Says Goodbye to Apple Daily

Refused to be “dyed red”

The newspaper has a clear stance It has a number of current affairs commentary columns criticizing the main leaders of the CCP and the Hong Kong government, and often reports on the situation of mainland rights defenders such as Liu Xiaobo. At the same time, it supports the Hong Kong democracy Movement in a high profile manner. After the transfer of Hong Kong’s sovereignty in 1997, many local newspapers, such as the South China Morning Post and Ming Pao, were bought by Chinese capital. Apple Daily is considered the only mainstream media in Hong Kong that has not been is “red”.

Hong Kong Says Goodbye to Apple Daily

The Curse of the National Security Law

From the Umbrella Movement in 2014 to the Rework Movement in 2019, “Apple Daily” can be said to have a clear stance. On August 10, 2020, the founder of the newspaper, Jimmy Lai, was arrested in connection with the “Hong Kong National Security Law”, and the headquarters of “Apple Daily” was searched by the police. The next day, the headline of the newspaper “Apple will surely fall”, and the print run increased from more than 70,000 copies two weeks ago to 550,000 copies, and citizens lined up to buy it.

Hong Kong Says Goodbye to Apple Daily

Taiwan stopped publishing

On May 15, 2021, the 18-year-old “Taiwan Apple Daily” announced that the publication would be suspended. The announcement said that “Taiwan Apple Daily is not losing in the news battleground”, but “lost in Hong Kong where the situation deteriorated, causing us to be unable to support losses for a long time”, so “reluctantly let go of paper” and focus resources on the development of the “Apple News Network”. On the same day, the assets of Li Zhiying, the founder of its Hong Kong parent company Next Media, were frozen, and the Hong Kong Security Bureau relied on the “Hong Kong National Security Law Kong”.

Hong Kong Says Goodbye to Apple Daily

Arrest high-level officials and freeze assets

On June 17, 2021, police raided Apple Daily for the second time on suspicion of violating the National Security Law and arrested five newspaper executives. The newspaper was accused of publishing an article calling on foreign countries to punish Hong Kong and China, and was suspected of “conspiring with foreign forces to endanger national security.” The authorities also froze the assets of three affiliated companies of “Apple Daily” with a total of 18 million Hong Kong dollars, making it impossible for the newspaper to continue operating.

Hong Kong Says Goodbye to Apple Daily

People line up to buy the last newspaper

On June 23, Next Media announced that after the last print edition of “Apple Daily” is published on the 24th, it will cease publication immediately, and the online version will also come to head The front page of the final issue was headlined “Hong Kong people say goodbye in the rain, we support Apple”, and a record 1 million copies were printed. On the streets of Hong Kong, citizens once again organized to buy “Apple”.

The Hong Kong government strongly refutes the UK’s “Hong Kong semi-annual report”.

The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region issued a press release on May 25, expressing strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to Britain’s “Hong Kong Half-Yearly Report”. The announcement reads: The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government has today (May 25) strongly refuted the so-called “Hong Kong Semi-Annual Report: July-December 2022” (report) published by the United Kingdom on “one country, two systems” “Malicious slander and political attacks on Hong Kong under the successful practice, and expressed strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition. Hong Kong SAR is an inseparable part of the People’s Republic of China The SAR government once again strongly urges the UK to adhere to international law and the basic norms of international relations, and immediately stop interfering in the affairs of Hong Kong, which are only related to China’s internal affairs.”

According to the publication, the spokesperson of the SAR government emphasized that the improved electoral system provides legal protection for the full implementation of the principle of “patriots governing Hong Kong” and that it is a general political principle to ensure that power is in the hands . patriots The people will allow power to fall into the hands of those who are not patriotic or even betray their own country; national security is a central responsibility, and every country has the responsibility and right to maintain its national security, and the UK also has a large number of national security laws. The SAR government strongly opposes the UK’s repeated malicious slander of the “Hong Kong National Security Act” through the so-called report, unnecessarily interfering in the governance of Hong Kong in accordance with the law, and undermine the rule of law in Hong Kong. that the business environment has improved has fallen on deaf ears.

The announcement also mentioned that the SAR government spokesperson reiterated that “Hong Kong residents enjoy the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Basic Law, the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance and other relevant laws.” However, the relevant rights and freedoms do not apply. absolute, and the exercise of relevant rights When used, it will be subject to the law and the requirements necessary to achieve a reasonable purpose, such as the protection of national security or public order.”

Relations between London and Beijing have been tense since Beijing implemented the national security law for Hong Kong. On May 9 this year, Dominic Johnson, Secretary of State for the British Ministry of Trade and Commerce, visited Hong Kong. This is the first time that the British Secretary of State has visited Hong Kong since the National Security Law for Hong Kong came into force. into force in 2018 and 2020.

(comprehensive report)

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