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DPP: HK media threatened to muzzle critics of Beijing
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-02-27 02:26 PM
Tuesday’s violent attack on a former editor of the Ming Pao newspaper in Hong Kong was only the latest in a series of assaults on figures in media who have dared to stray from lines laid down by Beijing for news gathering and reporting. On Wednesday Hung \-Tsai-lung, director of the DPP’s Department of China Affairs, said that the DPP is seriously concerned about the deterioration of the media environment i and erosion of freedom of speech and the rule of law in n Hong Kong. Hung noted that said that since June last year there have been several violent attacks on media figures by what appears to be members of Hong Kong’s underworld, and to date there has not been a single breakthrough in any of the cases.

Tsai said that the apparent motive behind these attacks is to exert a "chilling effect" on media in Hong Kong, which still enjoys a certain amount of freedom from direct interference by Chinese authorities. Instead, said Tsai, Beijing is resorting to violence and economic pressure to gradually stifle freedom of speech in Hong Kong as well as in neighboring Macao. Tsai urged that during the current 10th high-level meeting in Taipei between the heads of ARATS and MAC, Wang Yu-chi should take advantage of the opportunity to press his counterpart Chen Deming on the issue of freedom of speech in Hong Kong. Tsai noted that as a democracy Taiwan is very much concerned about, human rights and core values of democracy in nearby areas.

Incidents recorded since last June include a street-side attack on Chen Ping, the founder of the Sun Affairs Weekly magazine; an assault on Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai as he emerged from his residence one morning; an axe attack on distributor Sun Tak-keung and interception and battering of the car of Shih Wing-ching of am730, a free Chinese newspaper. There have also been a number of arson attacks on various media outlets. To date police have not found a single useful lead in any of these incidents.

At the same time, during the last year no free licenses have been issued to Hong Kong television networks, the chief editor of Ming Pao was suddenly replaced by a Malaysian reported to be more sympathetic to Beijing, and Hong Kong Commercial Radio host Li Huiling was summarily dismissed. All of these events point to a planned, systematic strangling of freedom of speech in Hong Kong.

Tsai noted that since he took office last year President Xi Jinping has repeatedly emphasized the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and the so-called "China Dream," and when he met Lien Chan earlier this year he mentioned the need to "cherish Taiwan's existing social system and way of life" as part of Beijing’s efforts to sell Taiwan on the "one country, two systems" model. At the same time, the Chinese government is working both openly and behind the scenes to disrupt and dismantle the rule of law in Hong Kong, and the legacy of freedom of speech from former days as a British colony is fading fast. With freedom and democracy and even personal safety threatened, Beijing’s promise of "one country, two systems "rings hollow in Hong Kong.

Tsai emphasized that these setbacks in the rule of law and freedom of speech show how seriously democracy is threatened in Hong Kong , The "China Dream" being trumpeted by Xi Jinping and the CCP has little use for freedom, democracy and core values such as human rights, and if current trends are allowed to continue, Hong Kong and its surrounding areas are headed for disaster in the future.

Tsai cautioned the people of Taiwan that they cannot afford to let down their vigilance. He reminded them that what is happening with human rights and issues of freedom and democracy in China and Hong Kong today could easily happen in Taiwan tomorrow.

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