Hong Kong Press freedoms are slipping! 香港新聞自由日漸下滑！
Updated: Apr 23, 2020
(Please scroll down for Chinese translation 繁体中文请往下滑).
It is unacceptable that the Hong Kong Government, Police and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are behind the erosion of Press freedoms in Hong Kong (HK). Their actions amount to further breaches of the Joint Declaration, The Basic Law, and civil liberties. Together, the three named authorities have contributed to the decline in the status of HK as an international financial centre.
The 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration is a binding agreement lodged by both UK and China with the UN and remains valid until 2047. The Joint Declaration Article 3.7 states (added bold text): "The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region will retain the status of an international financial centre, and its markets for foreign exchange, gold, securities and futures will continue. There will be free flow of capital. The Hong Kong dollar will continue to circulate and remain freely convertible."
Under the Joint Declaration China agreed to ensure HK has a high degree of autonomy and unchanged lifestyle until 2047. Once again China is in breach of the Joint Declaration by not ensuring that HK has a high degree of autonomy.
HK's standing as an international financial centre is being eroded by the decline of HK's rule of law. International financial centres require a highly developed rule of law which requires a highly developed democracy.
The HK Government likes to promote that HK is "Asia's World City" - yet HK's Press freedom rating is only 73rd! HK's regional competitors for Asia's financial centre and World City status are Seoul, South Korea (ranked 41st) Tokyo, Japan (ranked 67th) and Singapore (ranked 151st).
Leading Press freedoms are Scandinavian countries. According to "Reporters Without Borders" (RFS) in 2019 Hong Kong is ranked 73rd in the World for Press freedoms declining 3 places since last year.
On HK RFS wrote: "Beijing’s baleful influence has led to a decline in press freedom in Hong Kong, which is supposed to enjoy separate status as a special administrative region until 2047. The most notable recent incident was the expulsion of Financial Times Asia editor Victor Mallet in October 2018. As vice-president of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong (FCCHK), Mallet had chaired an event that wasn’t to Beijing’s liking. More than half of Hong Kong’s media owners, most of whom have major business interests in mainland China, are also members of political bodies on the mainland such as the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. The Chinese Communist Party’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong controls – partly or entirely – several media outlets in the territory including two daily newspapers, Tao Kung Pao and Wen Wei Po. Nonetheless, there is resistance. It is being led by a handful of independent online media such as Citizen News, The Initium, Hong Kong Free Press and inMedia. They exist thanks to participative funding and their audience is growing."
Taiwan's ranking is an impressive 42nd. China's ranking is fourth from the bottom 177th.
International NGO's including Amnesty International have repeatedly condemned Police action targeting journalists.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), of whom the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) is a member, has repeatedly accused the HK Police of obstructing Journalists.
The IFJ said: “Despite numerous statements and complaints to the Hong Kong government by the IFJ and our affiliates, the aggressive behaviours of police to media continues. We will continue to shine a light on these incidents and strongly condemning the outright intentional violence and harassment by Hong Kong’s police, which is clearly done to obstruct the vital work of journalists covering the important events in Hong Kong.” According to the IFJ’s media violations log on the Hong Kong protests, there have now been over 45 attacks on journalists in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong media companies have complained about Police tactics against journalists. Hong Kong Free Press accuses the Police of targeting Journalists. We have reported that Indonesian Journalist Veby M.I. was shot in her right eye and blinded by a Police rubber bullet fired at a low angle at a distance of less than 12 meters.
TO ALL JOURNALISTS AND NEWS MEDIA SUPPORTING THE JOINT DECLARATION, DEMOCRACY, CIVIL LIBERTIES, RIGHTS & FREEDOMS IN HONG KONG PLEASE CONTINUE AND THANK YOU FROM EVERYONE WORLDWIDE!!
RTHK journalist in Mong Kok Police stop Journalist and try to remove face mask and RTHK unions request inquiry
Hong Kong protests on 12 June 2019 RFA