Pro-democracy lawmaker Ted Hui has expressed regret after Legislative Council President Andrew Leung refused to allow an emergency debate on the assault of a Hong Kong journalist on Wednesday, saying that the matter was not urgent.
Hui said Leung’s decision was “ridiculous” and failed to meet the expectations of Hongkongers. He added that the Legislative Council should express the highest level of concern and condemnation over the incident.
Hong Kong journalist Chui Chun-ming was injured, handcuffed and taken away by Chinese police in Beijing on Wednesday whilst reporting on the disqualification hearing of human rights lawyer Xie Yanyi for alleged misconduct. The journalist, who is a cameraman with Now TV, can be seen in footage with blood trickling down his face.
The journalist has since been released and visited the hospital to have his injuries inspect. Chui later said that he signed an apology letter after an individual claiming to be a leader of the local police said they would confiscate his Beijing reporting credentials if he did not comply.
The incident comes just days after a reporter from i-Cable TV News was beaten up by two men in Dujiangyan, suffering multiple injuries. The journalist was reporting on the tenth anniversary of the devastating Sichuan earthquake last Saturday.
“This is second time within four days that a reporter coming from Hong Kong has been assaulted by the authorities in mainland, and this is a very serious incident,” lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki told reporters on Wednesday.
“I heard the reply from Matthew Cheung, the chief secretary – it’s entirely unsatisfactory and give no ideas of the concern of the people of Hong Kong towards the two… violent incident in mainland.”
Lawmaker Claudia Mo said Hong Kong journalists being attacked in mainland China was a “perverted norm.” Mo said it was as if the LegCo president did not see any urgency in dealing with the matter because it was a norm.
“This is completely failing to understand that under One Country, Two Systems, Hong Kong’s media should receive the most basic protection,” she said.
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Patrick Nip said the government was very concerned about the safety of reporters and will continue following up with the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office in order to avoid a similar occurrence in the future.
Asked whether there will be any condemnation of those who mistreated the journalist, Nip only said that the government must first understand the details of how the events unfolded. Nip added that because the incident did not take place in Hong Kong, it was more suitable for the relevant mainland authorities to deal with the matter in accordance with China’s laws and mechanisms.
Democratic Party legislator Roy Kwong said the party has written to Chief Executive Carrie Lam, urging her to respond.
In a statement, the Hong Kong Journalists Association expressed “strong indignation” and “strong protest against the Beijing authorities.” It demanded Beijing authorities “stop any uncivilised acts and suppression against the reporting work of journalists.”