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EU denounces Hong Kong media tycoon’s arrest

August 10, 2020

The European Union on Monday accused China of using Hong Kong’s new security law to crack down on media freedom, after the arrest of tycoon Jimmy Lai.

A spokesman for Josep Borrell, the EU foreign policy chief, said Lai’s arrest and the raid on his newspaper Apple Daily “stoke fears” for freedom of expression in Hong Kong.

“The European Union recalls that the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms is a central element of the Basic Law and the ‘one country, two systems’ principle,” Peter Stano said.

“In addition, media freedom and pluralism, are pillars of democracy as they are essential components of open and free society,” the spokesman said.

Lai, 71, was among nine detained Monday on charges that include “colluding with foreign forces” in an operation targeting his Hong Kong publishing group, Next Digital.

It was the latest police operation against dissidents under the sweeping new law introduced at the end of June, despite local street protests and international concern.

Beijing has welcomed the arrest, and accused Lai of being an “anti-China rabble-rouser.”

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.