07/24/2020, 10.33
HONG KONG
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Yuen Long, Journalists Association: Police cannot stop us from working

The reference is to the fines imposed on reporters who covered a demonstration in memory of the attack on democratic activists a year ago. Journalists: the police cannot identify and select us. European Union: Security law erodes the freedoms of the former British colony.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Hong Kong Journalists Association is raising its voice and demanding the police not abuse their powers or interfere in the work of reporters. In a statement released today, the Association expressed concern about the fines imposed on some journalists who covered protests in Yuen Long on July 21st.

Riot police dispersed dozens of anti-government demonstrators in the commercial center near the border with China. Exactly one year after the incident, activists were staging a sit-in in memory of the attack on the local subway station by anti-extradition demonstrators and unsuspecting passengers by hired triads.

Overall, the police arrested five people, including a member of parliament and a district councilor from the Democratic Front.

149 were fined 2,000 HK dollars for breaking anti-coronavirus measures, which ban public gatherings of more than four people. A third of these, mostly young freelance reporters, are accused of pretending to be journalists, as they lack the necessary press accreditation.

The Journalists Association condemned the incident, recalling that the police do not have the power to identify and select reporters as Hong Kong does not have an official press accreditation system. Membership in the trade association and registration with the Department of information services are not mandatory.

For many observers, the crackdown on free information is a reflection of the climate created by the new security law wanted by Beijing. The legislation, which came into force on 30 June, introduces the crimes of separatism, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The Chinese leadership has imposed it to stifle the democratic movement, which for a year has been protesting for over a year for Hong Kong's autonomy from the motherland and to safeguard its liberal system.

In its annual report on the state of relations with Hong Kong, presented to the European Parliament on 22 July, the European Union made it clear that the security measure "erodes" the freedoms of the former British colony. They are guaranteed by the international treaties that governed the return of the city under Chinese sovereignty in 1997, by the local mini-Constitution (Basic Law) and by the "one country, two systems" principle.

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