Statement on Apple Daily mocks press freedom: China Daily editorial
A statement by the Media Freedom Coalition on Saturday "condemned the use of a China-imposed National Security Law in Hong Kong to shut down the Apple Daily newspaper and arrest its owner Jimmy Lai and staff".
Expressing their "strong concerns" about the "forced closure" of the newspaper, 21 governments which signed the statement warned about the potential of increased media censorship if further legislation is passed.
The prejudice of those behind the statement is lamentable. Rather than being forced to close, the Apple Daily chose to close of its own volition. It can still operate if it follows rules as a newspaper should.
And the choice of wording to claim it is a "China-imposed National Security law" indicates a deliberate distorting of the relationship between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland. Hong Kong is a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China and the National People's Congress has both the power and obligation to enact laws to safeguard national security. That duty includes enacting national security legislation for the HKSAR and establishing relevant enforcement mechanisms.
Indeed the message the statement has sent is the political bias those who have masterminded this statement harbor against China. They think that Hong Kong is somehow in a position not to fall under the jurisdiction of the central government.
That is why they contend that the National Security Law was imposed on Hong Kong.
The central authorities have made clear that they hold true to both the letter and spirit of the principle of "one country, two systems", under which the people of Hong Kong administer the SAR with a high degree of autonomy, but that does not include tolerating the activities of separatists and those trying to destabilize the region in terms of both political and social stability. The Chinese government was fully entitled and right to adopt the National Security Law in Hong Kong to restore the region's political and social stability.
The Apple Daily newspaper did exactly what the National Security Law prohibits during the turmoil that seriously sabotaged the political and social stability of Hong Kong over the past couple of years. It even carried on doing so after the National Security Law took effect.
It was reported that it helped raise funds for separatist activities and rioters, and it has long played the role of demagogue for radicals and separatists. What it has done has posed a serious threat to national security.
Is there any sovereign country that allows a newspaper to sabotage its national security?
What Apple Daily has done is far beyond what a newspaper is supposed to do.
Similar to the noise by some Western media and politicians, this statement signed by their governments is intended to stigmatize China as a human rights abusing country and an oppressor of the freedom of the press.
China knows that it is doing the right thing to protect its national security and the future of Hong Kong. And it knows that the statement is just another gust of ill wind.