HOGN KONG – A central government agency in Hong Kong has strongly objected results of a survey conducted by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club which lacked credibility and attacked the city’s press freedom.
The response from the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region came after the release of the report by the FCC on Friday.
In a statement issued on the same day, a spokesperson for the office said the FCC report, based on just a few responses, was misleading. It was “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.
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.
Spokesperson, Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in the HKSAR
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.
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Contrary to the report, 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 the 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, the spokesperson said.
“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 spokesperson said that the FCC has walked away from its professional ethics, urging it to stop driving wedges in Hong Kong.
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"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 added 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, the spokesperson said. “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," the spokesperson said.