Apple Daily file photo: VCG
It is widely known that Hong Kong secessionist tabloid Apple Daily violated the law and people’s conscience. Its company and employees have been punished by the law, and its own operations had problems. Now the tabloid has been closed, which has been driven by justice, people’s hearts, and the market.
Nonetheless, some politicians in a few Western countries do not want to see the failure of the forces that oppose the central government and destabilize Hong Kong. Under the banner of so-called press freedom, these forces confronted justice and law in the name of “basic freedom” and tried to set barriers to obstruct Hong Kong’s rule of law. This is gross interference in Hong Kong affairs and the internal affairs of China. It must be pointed out that all Chinese people and those who stick to fairness and justice in the world firmly oppose a few Western politicians’ violations of international law and principles of international relations.
Hong Kong is ruled by law. The rhetoric of the so-called press and speech freedom uttered by those Western politicians can never exempt the lawbreakers from legal punishment if they damage economic and social order and jeopardize China’s national security. The law must be abided by and those violating the law must be punished.
The Hong Kong public all wants to maintain economic and social order in accordance with the law and supports consolidating “one country, two systems” and promoting Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability by improving the rule of law. Such mainstream public opinion cannot be offset by a few Western politicians with obvious prejudices.
For a long time, some Western politicians have been pointing an accusing finger at Hong Kong affairs and the internal affairs of China and playing the Hong Kong card to suppress China. Under their banner of so-called press and speech freedom, people across the world can clearly see their intention of destroying Hong Kong’s rule of law. They do not want to see a stabilized Hong Kong, nor do they want to accept the prosperous future of Hong Kong.
Since the very beginning of its founding, the Apple Daily made its way by breaking the boundaries of morality and triggered controversy by breaching the privacy of celebrities. The Hong Kong public has accused the newspaper of defamation and fake news. In 2019, the Apple Daily ran a series of untrue reports to flame public sentiment, which seriously hurt Hong Kong’s rule of law and the safety of the public.
The people in charge of Hong Kong’s civil organization Apple Fake and Notorious News Supervision Team said that the newspaper fabricated news under the banner of press freedom over the years and incited young people to violate the law and oppose their country and government. It even colluded with foreign forces and engaged in unlawful acts, which inevitably led the newspaper to a dead end. Legal experts in Hong Kong also called for legal action against the newspaper.
Which country or region could indulge in news and speech running wild without legal restraint? Facing this question, some Western politicians should learn the laws of their own countries. The US Constitution forbids speech related to slandering, filth, intimidation and hatred. The US government set up special organizations to monitor the local media. The US Federal Communications Commission is in charge of sending licenses to radio and TV stations and places restrictions on programs. The US High Court explicitly bans speech that advocates for violence or illegal acts or speech that incites or is likely to lead to violence or illegal actions.
In Germany, people who deny the Holocaust or fan the flames of racial hatred could be sentenced to as long as five years of imprisonment. Social media platforms must respond to illegal opinions reported by users in a timely manner and delete or filter illegal speeches. Social media platforms that do not handle it well may face huge amounts of fines.
In France, jeopardizing national interests through the media, inciting crimes, slandering and spreading fake news can all be punished by law.
There can be no freedom in the world against justice and the rule of law. Some Western politicians continue to infringe in the issue of Apple Daily, which exposes their double standards and their lack of understanding of reality and trends.
Hong Kong has returned to its motherland for 24 years. People all hope that Hong Kong is governed by patriots. The efforts by some Western politicians to play the Hong Kong card and manipulate double standards to contain China are futile and doomed to fail.
The author is a commentator with the People’s Daily. firstname.lastname@example.org