On June 30, the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress unanimously passed the Hong Kong National Security Act. The Chinese government has claimed that the law intends “to prevent, frustrate and punish the small minority of criminal acts that harm national security and to offer better protection to the safety of life and property of the vast majority of Hong Kong people, as well as their basic rights and freedoms”.
But in fact the law appears to open up vast new possibilities for the Chinese government to silence its critics in Hong Kong and thereby poses a clear threat to press freedom and independent journalism. The uncertainty surrounding the implementation of the law has created a chilling effect. Hong Kong-based media outlets are resorting to self-censorship to avoid becoming targets of Beijing. Even foreign media outlets are reconsidering their correspondent bases in Hong Kong.
One month after the law took effect, IPI organized a webinar with Hong Kong-based journalists and analysts to shed light on the law’s impact and on the future of press freedom and independent media in Hong Kong.
Chris Yeung, chairperson, Hong Kong Journalists Association
Tom Grundy, founder, Hong Kong Free Press
Sharron Fast, lecturer and deputy director, Master of Journalism Programme, Hong Kong University
Antony Dapiran, Hong Kong-based lawyer and analyst
Moderator: Scott Griffen, IPI deputy director