Taiwan slams Hong Kong for arresting media executives

06/18/2021 06:19 PM
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The Apple Daily
The Apple Daily's office in Hong Kong. CNA file photo

Taipei, June 18 (CNA) The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), Taiwan's top government agency handling China policy, on Friday slammed the Hong Kong government for the recent arrest of media executives, describing it as an attack on press freedom.

"The Hong Kong government's repeated use of an infamous law against the media is beyond belief for a democratic country," the MAC said in a statement.

It noted that more than 100 dissidents have been arrested in the former British colony since the Hong Kong National Security Law took effect in June 2020.

"The continued repression of freedom of speech, press freedom and civil rights will only erode Hong Kong people's support for its government and further damage Hong Kong's international image," the MAC further said.

Friday
Friday's edition of the Apple Daily in Hong Kong. CNA photo June 18, 2021

The statement came a day after police in Hong Kong raided the newsroom of pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily and arrested its editor-in-chief and four executives on suspicion of conspiracy to collude with foreign forces.

Aside from the arrest, the Hong Kong authorities also froze HK$18 million (US$2.32 million) worth of assets belonging to three Apple Daily-linked companies.

John Lee Ka-chiu (李家超), Hong Kong's security chief, told local media that the operation was not a media clampdown, but aimed at people who use news reporting as a tool to endanger national security.

Meanwhile, Taiwan's main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) said in a statement that the Hong Kong government's repression of freedom of speech is regrettable.

"The Hong Kong government's law enforcement operation has had a chilling effect and essentially reduces freedom of speech in Hong Kong. The move is highly worrisome and regrettable," the KMT said.

The KMT urged the Hong Kong government to listen to its people and build a harmonious society, adding that the arrest of media leaders would not help to improve relations between the people of Hong Kong and Mainland China.

(By Lai Yen-hsi and Emerson Lim)

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