RSF and NGO coalition urge US Congress to impose sanctions on Hong Kong individuals involved in Apple Daily raids

On 28 September 2022, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and nine other NGOs sent a joint letter to the United States Congress urging them to impose sanctions upon Hong Kong individuals and Chinese regime officials involved in the raids and closure of Apple Daily.

“Last year’s weak international response to the forced closure of Apple Daily sends a clear message that the Chinese regime won’t be held accountable for its crimes, and serves as tacit encouragement for Beijing’s repressive and authoritarian policies.” says Cédric Alviani, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) East Asia Bureau Head, who calls on the United States Congress to “show their disapproval in a manner that truly impacts the regime and impose sanctions upon Hong Kong individuals and Chinese government officials involved in the raids and closure of the media.”

In a joint letter sent on 28th of September 2022 (see in full below), RSF and nine other NGOs, including the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) and the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong (CFHK), urged the United States Congress to sanction individuals identified as having been involved in the raids of the Hong Kong’s largest Chinese language opposition newspaper, Apple Daily, and who therefore “have severely undermined democratic institutions and engaged in widespread repression of human rights in Hong Kong and should be held accountable by the United States.”

On 24th June 2021, Apple Daily, Hong Kong’s largest Chinese language opposition newspaper, was forced to shut down after the police raided its premises and the government froze its parent company’s assets. Currently seven of the media’s former staff members, including its founder Jimmy Lai, are still detained and facing life imprisonment.

Six months after the closing of Apple Daily, the Chinese regime also used the National Security Law as a pretext to shut down the Chinese-language news site, Stand News, while the climate of fear confronting Hong Kong journalists led to at least five smaller media outlets to cease their operations.

In a report titled The Great Leap Backwards of Journalism in China, published last year, RSF revealed the system of censorship and information control established by the Chinese regime and the global threat it poses to press freedom and democracy.

Hong Kong, once a bastion of press freedom, has plummeted from 80th place in 2021 to 148th place in the 2022 RSF World Press Freedom Index, marking the index’s sharpest drop of the year. China itself ranks 175th of the 180 countries and territories evaluated.

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