Books, films and media pushing separatism: Chris Tang

New security secretary Chris Tang says separatist ideas are still being spread in Hong Kong through channels like the media, documentaries, books and street booths.

At a forum on the national security law on Monday, the former police chief said the legislation has successfully curbed violence and dangerous activities over the past year.

But this is not the time for complacency, he warned, saying officials must continue to strengthen education, and carry out enforcement work against pro-independence forces.

“They continue to use the media and different art and cultural forms to spread their ideology of Hong Kong independence. From time to time, some organisations championing Hong Kong independence would set up their booths along the streets,” he said.

Tang complained that some students have described “mobsters” as martyrs, and said the mass media are another cause for concern.

“Some, by playing documentaries, they depict those mobsters as heroes, and some books praising such violent acts are also published to poison the minds of young people.”

Tang also downplayed the number of arrests the authorities have made under the national security law, saying the 110-or-so figure is “very minimal” compared to the arrests made during the 2019 protests.

Addressing the same forum, Justice Secretary Teresa Cheng also warned Hong Kong’s journalists they must follow the law and said they should also conduct responsible journalism.

“Journalists must act in good faith to provide accurate and reliable information in accordance with the principles of responsible journalism, in order to be protected by the right to freedom of expression and the press. Newspaper publishers and editors are similarly subject to special duties and obligations in journalistic activities,” she said.

In recent weeks, seven people linked to the now-defunct Apple Daily newspaper have been arrested under the national security law. Two of them have been charged, as the paper’s founder Jimmy Lai was last year.