I rise to raise the very serious issues facing the people of Hong Kong which have manifested themselves in the last several weeks. I, like many other Australians, have visited Hong Kong and have been struck by its vibrant culture and the particular desire of young Hongkongers for freedom and democracy. I therefore have been deeply concerned about the actions taken against the media outlet Apple Daily by Hong Kong authorities.
On 17 June, hundreds of police raided the newspaper’s offices as part of a national security investigation in which several executives were arrested over allegations of collusion with a foreign country. These actions were taken under the recently passed national security law. Hong Kong police have cited several Apple Daily articles which they claim have violated the security law. This is in fact the first instance of authorities targeting media articles under the law. Alarmingly, these actions have now led to the permanent closure of Apple Daily, which was sadly announced last night.
A free and independent press is vital for the people of Hong Kong and for its success as an international business hub. The rights of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly are integral to the operation of the basic law for all people in Hong Kong and which Chinese authorities are meant to remain committed to. We have seen these rights seriously eroded over recent years. This undemocratic trend must stop, and I call on Chinese authorities to reverse their approach which is only serving to repress and suppress the people of Hong Kong and what should be its vibrant future.