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Spokesperson of the Chinese Mission to the EU Speaks on a Question Concerning EEAS Statement on the Closure of Apple Daily's Hong Kong Operations

Q: On June 23, the EEAS issued a statement, claiming the closure of Apple Daily’s Hong Kong operations shows how the National Security Law is being used to stifle freedom of the press and the free expression of opinions. Its closing seriously undermines media freedom and pluralism, and runs counter to Hong Kong’s aspirations as an international business hub. What is your comment?

A: Under the guise of press freedom,the EU side is blatantly interfering in Hong Kong affairs, which are China’s internal affairs. This is a serious violation of international law and basic norms governing international relations. We express our strong disapproval of and firm opposition to such act.

Hong Kong is governed by rule of law. The Basic Law and the National Security Law for the HKSAR clearly safeguard the lawful rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong residents, including freedom of speech and the press. However, press freedom is not a get-out-of-jail-free card. No one has any privilege above the law to sow trouble in Hong Kong and China at large. The Hong Kong police’s actions against individuals and relevant companies suspected of endangering national security are just efforts to combat crime and uphold law and order, and have nothing to do with press freedom.

We urge the EU side to observe the principle of non-interference in others’ internal affairs, which is a basic norm governing international relations, and stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs under any pretext.

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