In Hong Kong, the noose is tightening on the press

Saturday 13 November, the benchmark British weekly The Economist said her correspondent in Hong Kong, Sue-Lin Wong, an Australian citizen, had been refused renewal of her work visa. While the presence of the foreign press was essential to Hong Kong’s status as an international metropolis, it is at least the fourth such refusal in three years.

“The government will continue to facilitate the operations of the international press in Hong Kong”Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam said Tuesday morning, who was quick to add: But, of course, we now have a new law, which is called the National Security Law. So in all aspects of government business, national security is a very important consideration.

Adopted on June 30, 2020, this new law on national security, which takes precedence over any other legal concept and aims very vaguely at any challenge to local and central power (that of Beijing), is in the process of profoundly and radically transforming the very identity of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Because the latter was based on the guarantee of fundamental freedoms and on impartial and independent justice.

The “Apple Daily” cornered to closure

Before the journalist of The Economist, a correspondent of New York Times and a Bloomberg employee were also not allowed to stay in Hong Kong. However, until the expulsion, in 2018, of the British journalist from Financial Times, Victor Mallet, Hong Kong had hardly ever refused an application for a journalist’s visa. In the case of Mr. Mallet, although the authorities never provided an official reason, the non-renewal of his visa had been widely perceived as a sanction, after having chaired a conference with a young independence activist at the Correspondents’ Club. foreigners from Hong Kong (FCC), when the Chinese authorities had asked for it to be canceled.

Ten days ago, Beijing again attacked the FCC sharply following a survey of its members, which highlighted the deterioration of the working environment for journalists in Hong Kong. The Chinese Foreign Ministry estimated that the questionnaire was ” an attack on the law on national security and on press freedom in Hong Kong ”. Agence France-Presse, Reuters, CNN, Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg still have their regional headquarters in the territory. But the New York Times has already sent some of its teams to Seoul.

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source site-29