Statement on the Closure of Hong Kong Newspaper Apple Daily

June 23, 2021

We, the Co-Chairs of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, deplore the forced closure of Apple Daily, Hong Kong’s last remaining major pro-democracy newspaper, following the freezing of its assets by the Hong Kong authorities.

The attack on Apple Daily demonstrates the ruthless determination of the Chinese government to silence all dissenting voices in Hong Kong. Today’s announcement follows the jailing of Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai, alongside the arrest of its editor in chief and four other executives and a raid on its offices by 500 police officers. These actions are further proof that media freedoms in Hong Kong are fast becoming indistinguishable from the mainland, where the Chinese government heavily censors all media output.

The international community has a clear obligation to protect the freedoms and autonomy guaranteed to the people of Hong Kong under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a treaty lodged at the United Nations.

We call on our governments to act urgently to hold China accountable for its broken promises to the people of Hong Kong. Statements of concern are not enough. The Chinese government must face clear, tangible consequences for its actions.

The IPAC Co-Chairs call on their governments to support the following actions:

  1. Policies which encourage fund managers to divest from activities linked to human rights abuses in Hong Kong and China, and to raise awareness of ESG concerns when investing in these areas.
  2. Government led audits of the long term financial risk for firms operating in Hong Kong in light of the deteriorating rule of law.
  3. Emergency visas for journalists, activists and others at risk of persecution in Hong Kong.
  4. Targeted sanctions on government officials responsible for human rights abuses and violations of international law in Hong Kong.
  5. An end to British, Australian, Canadian and New Zealand judges practising in Hong Kong.
  6. Calls on banks operating in Hong Kong and China to protect the assets of those politically persecuted by the Chinese government, including for Chinese diasporic communities living abroad.
  7. Government led investigations into the role of ‘United Front’ Chinese government influence operations abroad.

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