Commissioner’s Office urges FCC to stop vilifying Hong Kong’s rule of law under the cover of press freedom
2021-11-05 15:30

The spokesperson of the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in the HKSAR strongly disapproved and firmly objected the survey of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) on the state of press freedom in Hong Kong issued on November 5, which attacked the National Security Law for the HKSAR and Hong Kong’s press freedom. We urge the FCC to stop sowing discord and refrain from interfering with the law-based governance of the HKSAR government and Hong Kong’s rule of law in the name of press freedom.

The spokesperson pointed out that the lawful rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents, including freedoms of speech and the press, are upheld in the Basic Law of the HKSAR and the National Security Law for the HKSAR. Contrary to the survey results, the National Security Law better protected the safety of the country, restored social stability and provided people with a stronger sense of security. Thanks to the law, Hong Kong could refocus on fighting Covid-19, revitalizing economy and improving people’s livelihood. Targeting a very small handful of criminals for their activities that endanger national security, the National Security Law does not harm press freedom and any other rights and freedoms of Hong Kong people; rather, it protects their rights and freedoms in a more secure, stable and law-based environment. Under the National Security Law, the number of local, overseas and online news media and practitioners registered in Hong Kong Government News and Media Information System has gone up. The right of media professionals in Hong Kong to report in accordance with law has not been affected at all.

The spokesperson stressed that the FCC has walked away from its professional ethics. Its misleading report, based on just a few responses, is neither representative nor credible. Its smearing of Hong Kong’s press freedom and playing-up of the chilling effect are interference in Hong Kong affairs.

The spokesperson said that there is no absolute press freedom anywhere in the world that could be above law. It is an international common practice that countries supervise in accordance with law the media activities in their countries. Hong Kong is no exception. Foreign media correspondents in the city must strictly abide by the laws of China and the HKSAR and accept legal supervision. There is only one purpose for the relevant departments of the HKSAR government to improve management and service for the media sector in accordance with law — to protect the rights of all law-abiding media outlets and journalists and safeguard press freedom in Hong Kong. The actions are, by all standards, legitimate and necessary. We urge the FCC to distinguish right from wrong, respect the rule of law in the HKSAR, and stop driving wedge in Hong Kong and meddling in Hong Kong affairs under whatever pretext.

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