It is a sad day for media freedom in Hong Kong and around the world. Intensifying repression by Beijing has reached such a level that Apple Daily, a much-needed bastion of independent journalism in Hong Kong, has now ceased publishing. Through arrests, threats, and forcing through a National Security Law that penalizes free speech, Beijing has insisted on wielding its power to suppress independent media and silence dissenting views.
Independent media play an invaluable role in resilient and prosperous societies. Journalists are truth-tellers who hold leaders accountable and keep information flowing freely—and that is needed now more than ever in Hong Kong, and in places around the world where democracy is under threat. Beijing must stop targeting the independent press and release the journalists and media executives that have been detained. The act of journalism is not a crime.
People in Hong Kong have the right to freedom of the press. Instead, Beijing is denying basic liberties and assaulting Hong Kong’s autonomy and democratic institutions and processes, inconsistent with its international obligations. The United States will not waver in our support of people in Hong Kong and all those who stand up for the basic freedoms all people deserve.