European Parliament condemns closure of Apple Daily, urges Hong Kong authorities to release all detained journalists

In an urgent resolution adopted on 8th of July, the European Parliament condemned the forced closure of Apple Daily newspaper and urged for the immediate release of all detained journalists in Hong Kong. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) commends this much-needed resolution addressing the escalating crackdown on press freedom in the territory.

On the 8th of July, 2021, the European Parliament adopted with a landslide majority (578 out of 680 present Members of the European Parliament voting in favour) urgent resolution denouncing the closure of Apple Daily, the last Chinese-language print media critical of the Beijing regime, and the rapid deterioration of press freedom in Hong Kong. The European Parliament also called on the Hong Kong government to immediately and unconditionally release and drop charges against all journalists.

“This European Parliament resolution is an important step in addressing press freedom abuse in Hong Kong, but it is now paramount that all democratic governments and other international organisations join their voices in protest against the repressive campaign led by the Chinese regime,” said RSF East Asia bureau head, Cédric Alviani.

In the resolution, the European Parliament expressed its “strongest solidarity with all Hong Kong journalists who, despite the entry into force of the National Security Law, have continued to strenuously defend media freedom and independent journalism and to keep reporting about the dramatic evolution of events” and called on the Hong Kong government “to end all legal harassment and all intimidation directed at journalists.”

On the 30th of June, 2020, the Beijing regime adopted a National Security Law that allows the suppression, with the appearance of legality, of anything it deems to be “terrorism”, “secession”, “subversion” or “collusion with foreign forces”. A year later, at least ten journalists and press freedom defenders have been arrested under this law and are facing life sentences. Five of them are still detained including Apple Daily founder and 2020 RSF Press Freedom Awards laureate Jimmy Lai.

Recently, RSF submitted two appeals urging the United Nations to “take all necessary measures” to safeguard press freedom in Hong Kong and obtain the immediate release of the Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai.

Hong Kong, once a bastion of press freedom, has fallen from 18th place in 2002 to 80th place in the 2021 RSF World Press Freedom Index . The People's Republic of China, for its part, ranks 177th out of 180.