Beijing slaps ‘faces of hegemony’ over Apple Daily

Beijing’s Foreign Ministry office in Hong Kong on Thursday accused “a small amount of American and Western politicians” of using press freedom as an excuse to continuously attack the SAR’s national security law.

Western governments, rights groups and media organisations have spent the past week raising concerns over press freedom in Hong Kong, following the arrest and prosecution of Apple Daily executives under the national security law.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said the United States was deeply concerned by “selective” and “politically motivated” use of the legislation, while British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the security law was being used as a tool to curtail freedoms and punish dissent, rather than keep public order.

In a statement, the Foreign Ministry office said it is strongly against “the politicians’ faces of hegemony”.

It said no person or organisation can endanger national security in the name of press freedom, and this legal principle is commonplace internationally.

“There is no press freedom in this world that overrides the law,” the office said.

It declared that the authority of the national security law cannot be challenged, and said “Western politicians who are anti-China” should realise what the reality is and stop interfering in China’s internal affairs.

“Any attempts to suppress China’s development and damage the SAR’s stability are doomed to fail,” it warned.

At a news conference in Singapore on Thursday, Raab again took aim at Beijing over the Apple Daily saga.

Hours after the newspaper’s final edition came out, he called on China to respect the freedoms of the people of Hong Kong and its commitments to ensuring a free media in the SAR.

In Canada, Foreign Minister Marc Garneau said the forced closure of Apple Daily was a significant blow to freedom of press and speech in Hong Kong.