RSF and NGO coalition demand Hong Kong bill threatening journalists to be withdrawn

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Originally published by The Tibet Post on June 11, 2019

Paris-based international press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF), along with 73 other NGOs, urges Hong Kong to abandon the bill that would allow China to extradite journalists and their sources.

In a letter sent on June 6th to Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and a coalition of 73 NGOs call for Hong Kong to immediately withdraw the extradition bill, which is scheduled for a second reading this Wednesday, June 12, at the Legislative Council (LegCo).

On Sunday, June 9th, one million Hong Kongers (more than 13% of the population) marched against this bill, which, if passed by the pro-Beijing majority LegCo, would allow China to extradite residents or visitors, including journalists and their sources. China holds at least 111 journalists under life-threatening conditions.

“The Chinese regime has shown on multiple occasions that it needs no solid grounds to punish critical voices,” says Cédric Alviani, the head of RSF’s East Asia bureau. “If such a regulation was adopted, Beijing would no longer have to resort to abduction, and would simply be able to seize whomever they wish to silence under a false accusation.”

The collective of NGOs comprises of 23 human rights organisations: Amnesty International, Asia Monitor Resource Centre, China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group, Chinese Human Rights Defenders , Civil Rights Observer, Committee to Support Chinese Lawyers, Covenants Watch, Hong Kong Watch, Human Rights Watch, Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor, Judicial Reform Foundation, Justice Centre Hong Kong, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, Leitner Center for International Law and Justice at Fordham, PEN Hong Kong, Progressive Lawyers Group, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty, Taiwan Association for Human Rights, The Committee to Protect Journalists, The Hong Kong Society for Asylum-seekers and Refugees, The Law Society of England and Wales, The Rights Practice.

Hong Kong’s ranking has plummeted from 18th in 2002 to 73rd this year, while China ranks 177th out of 180 in the 2019 RSF Press Freedom Index.

See the joint letter in its entirety, in English and in Chinese.

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