The United States and its allies, including Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom, criticized the actions of the Hong Kong authorities against the outspoken Apple Daily and its employees.
In a joint statement issued Saturday by the 21-nation Media Freedom Alliance, 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 his staff. They expressed “grave concern” about the shutdown and warned of the potential for increased censorship of the media if other legislation is passed.
“Using the National Security Act to suppress the press is a dangerous and negative step that undermines Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents,” the US State Department statement said.
She called on the Hong Kong and Chinese authorities to uphold press freedom “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 scrambled to buy it in protest of the government’s crackdown. The newspaper said it was forced to stop publishing after its bank accounts were frozen and senior editors arrested for violating Hong Kong’s national security law.
The Apple Daily has built a reputation for grueling investigations over the past 26 years, exposing the hidden wealth of top Chinese Communist Party leaders and the unethical practices of Hong Kong officials. She was known for providing quick reports and photos on entertainment, crime, and celebrity gossip.
Lai, 73, was jailed on charges related to his support of pro-democracy protests. His personal assets, including shares of Next Digital Ltd., 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 and Switzerland. United kingdom. and the United States
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