The European Union and the United Kingdom said on Thursday (June 17) that a police raid on the Hong Kong democrat Apple Daily revealed that China is using the new national security law to combat dissent and silence the media, rather than dealing with public safety issues.
Just a few days after the world’s richest democracies accused China of human rights issues at the G7 summit, and the NATO military alliance warned Beijing about its ambitions, the Hong Kong police arrested an executive from Apple Daily at dawn.
Today, 500 political police raided Hong Kong’s most important newspaper, Apple Daily. The editor-in-chief was arrested for “collaborating with foreign forces.”
Independent news in Hong Kong is a crime and threatens China’s “national security.” How fragile is the country?#Hong Kong pic.twitter.com/mx58AX5ysb
-Luo Guancong (@nathanlawkc) June 17, 2021
Every day, 500 Hong Kong police officers browse through reporters’ computers and notebooks. This is the first case in which the authorities cited media articles that may violate the national security law.
EU spokesperson Nabila Massrali said in a statement that the raid “further demonstrates how national security laws are used to stifle freedom of the media and freedom of speech in Hong Kong.”
“All existing rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents must be fully protected, including freedom of the press and the press.”
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab (Dominic Raab) also stated that the raid was aimed at suppressing dissent.
“Press freedom is one of the rights that China promised to protect in the joint statement and should be respected,” Raab said, referring to the agreement that guaranteed Hong Kong’s autonomy when London handed over its colony to China in 1997.
Hong Kong’s security bureau chief John Lee described the newsroom as a “crime scene” and said that the operation was aimed at those who used reporting as a “tool” to “endanger” national security.
Western leaders stated that the 68-year-old Chinese President Xi Jinping is suppressing Hong Kong, and that the United Kingdom returned Hong Kong to China in 1997. Western security officials expressed concern about Xi Jinping’s next goal.
The United Kingdom and its allies stated that the national security law violated the “one country, two systems” principle of the 1984 Sino-British Treaty that guaranteed Hong Kong’s autonomy.
China has repeatedly warned Britain and the United States to stop interfering in their affairs and stated that many Western powers fell into an “imperial hangover” after humiliating China in the 19th and 20th centuries.