The United States and its allies, including Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom, have vocally criticized Hong Kong authorities’ actions against Apple Daily and its employees.
In a joint statement issued on Saturday by the Media Freedom Alliance of 21 countries, governments condemned the use of China’s national security law in Hong Kong to shut down the newspaper and arrest its owner Jimmy Lai and its employees. He expressed “grave concern” about the closures and warned of the potential for increased media censorship if other laws are passed.
“Using the National Security Act to suppress the press is a dangerous and negative move that undermines Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and the rights and freedoms of the Hong Kong people,” the US State Department statement said.
It called on Hong Kong and Chinese authorities to support freedom of the press “in accordance with China’s international legal obligations”.
The pro-democracy Apple Daily published its latest issue on June 24 as people in Hong Kong rushed to buy it in protest against the government’s action. The newspaper said it was forced to stop publishing after senior editors were arrested for freezing its bank accounts and violating Hong Kong’s national security law.
Apple Daily has built a reputation for grueling investigations over the past 26 years, uncovering the hidden assets of senior Chinese Communist Party leaders and the unethical practices of Hong Kong officials. She is known for delivering snappy reports and photos about entertainment, crime and celebrity gossip.
Le, 73, was jailed for supporting pro-democracy protests. His personal assets, including shares of Next Digital Limited, have been frozen.
The statement was signed on Saturday by Australia, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Slovakia, Switzerland and the Netherlands. United Kingdom. and the United States
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