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China Launches Full Blown Assault on Democracy and Free Press

China Prensa

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The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) voted unanimously to reform Hong Kong’s electoral system on the grounds that it opens the door for people who go against Chinese nationalist sentiment and went ahead with arrests of activists.

At the same time, China is stepping up its persecution of journalists who seek to report on COVID-19, the Xinjiang genocide, or events in Hong Kong.

Previously, there were disappearances and arrests of Chinese journalists who covered the human rights violations that occurred in Wuhan during the lockdowns forced by the CCP to combat the coronavirus and to keep secret what was happening in this city.

The end of democracy in Hong Kong

Martin Lee, father of Hong Kong democracy, and media mogul Jimmy Lai were convicted for attending an unauthorized protest in 2019.

Martin Lee - Hong Kong - Chinese Communist Party
Democratic Party founding chairman Martin Lee Chu-Ming, left, leaves the West Kowloon Court Buildings in Hong Kong, April 01, 2021. (EFE)

Activists Albert Ho, Leung “Long Hair” Kwok-hung, Lee Cheuk-yan, Cyd Ho and Margaret Ng were also convicted and await sentencing on April 16, 2021.

China completely subdued Hong Kong and its authorities ended the judicial, electoral and administrative system with the imposition of the national security law and guidelines to focus the Executive and magistrates on the path of the Chinese Communist Party.

China approved a plan to end open elections in Hong Kong. Police had already arrested 47 pre-candidates at the beginning of 2021 and along with the activists arrested on March 31, 2021, will be convicted of crimes whose penalties can include life imprisonment, as set out by the national security law.

The law is also drastic with citizens, who are threatened by the police. “Don’t tempt the law, it’s simple,” warned Oscar Kwok, deputy commissioner for administration of the Hong Kong Police, following a police crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

Kwok added that “the risks to (Hong Kong’s) national security are real and perpetual, especially since there are countries like the United States whose basic DNA is aggressive.”

The law also stipulates changes to Hong Kong education, forcing institutions and teachers to introduce content tailored to Beijing.

The administration banned the vigil for the victims of the Tiananmen massacre, which is held every June 9. In 2020, some activists and victims in exile were arrested by the authorities for demonstrating at a peaceful vigil.

Pro-democracy activist Alexandra Wong is escorted by police. Hong Kong’s National Security Law imposed by the Chinese Communist Party prohibits citizens from speaking out in favor of independence.. (EFE)

The Chinese Communisty Party represses the free press

According to a Freedom House report, “China is home to one of the world’s most restrictive media environments and most sophisticated censorship system, especially online.”

The report adds that the CCP controls “news reporting through direct ownership, accreditation of journalists, severe penalties for comments critical of party or CCP leaders, and daily directives to media outlets and websites that guide breaking news coverage.”

Australia, for example, has no journalists in China because in 2020 the last two were expelled after being implicated in an alleged investigation into journalists’ opinions contrary to the Chinese Communist Party regime.

However, the latest war against the free press is being waged by the BBC and the foreign correspondents’ club, which is accused of going against the line of the communist regime.

The BBC took the decision to transfer its correspondent, John Sudworth, from Beijing to Taipei, Taiwan, due to the strong pressure on him and his family for his reports against the Asian giant.

Sudworth traveled in late 2020 to the Xinjiang region where he tried to report the facts about genocide and forced labor by the government against religious minorities.

“John Sudworth and his team were followed on a trip to Xinjiang in late 2020 and the contents of their recordings were deleted,” the BBC reported.

It should be recalled that in mid-February China’s National Radio and Television Commission banned the BBC from broadcasting in response to the British government’s decision to revoke the licenses of the Chinese state channel China Global Television Network (CGTN) for its links to the Chinese Communist Party and lack of editorial responsibility.

On the other hand, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC) was declared illegal by the CCP. “FCCC has no sense of right and wrong and lacks principles,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying.

China’s policy to control the local press and attack the foreign press by labeling reports as biased and liars while crushing democratic values alerts U.S. allies in the region to the growing expansion of the Chinese Communist Party and its ideology over other nations around the world.

Camilo Bello is a consultant focused on Asia Pacific studies and has experience in strategic management. He has studied law in Colombia and is currently pursuing studies in language and history at National Taiwan Normal University. He has collaborated with Students for Freedom in Hong Kong and Taiwan // Camilo es consultor enfocado en estudios de Asia Pacífico y experiencia en gestión estratégica. Cuenta con estudios en Derecho en Colombia y actualmente se encuentra realizando estudios en lenguaje e historia en National Taiwan Normal University. Colaborador de Estudiantes por la Libertad en Hong Kong y Taiwán

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