Chief Executive Carrie Lam has said that the government will work with Beijing’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office to look into how to prevent violence against Hong Kong journalists in the mainland.
Earlier this month, a reporter from i-Cable News was beaten up by two men in Sichuan whilst reporting on the tenth anniversary of the deadly Sichuan earthquake.
In Beijing, a Now TV cameraman was injured, handcuffed and taken away by Chinese police whilst covering a Beijing Lawyers Association hearing related to the disqualification of human rights lawyer Xie Yanyi for alleged misconduct. The cameraman was forced to sign a letter of repentance before he was allowed to leave.
Democratic Party lawmaker Roy Kwong asked at a regular Q&A session at the legislature on Wednesday if Lam will condemn the incidents.
Lam said those involved in the Sichuan incident have apologised to the reporters, and that she raised the Beijing incident with mainland officials at the time.
“It is obvious that the public security personnel were wearing uniforms – so in other words, the incident occurred as the law enforcement agency was performing its legal duties. So even as we express concern, we must understand what happened.”
“I hope we have mutual respect. But on the issues faced by Hong Kong journalists when they are conducting legal reporting activities, the Hong Kong government is very concerned,” Lam said.
“We will follow up with the two incidents, and look into them with the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office to see if there are any better methods or communications to prevent such incidents from happening again.”
Meanwhile, Lam said she will communicate with Macau’s leader over the city’s denial of entry to Hong Kong lawmakers.
Democratic Party lawmaker Helena Wong said that Hong Kong lawmakers, journalists, and scholars were unreasonably denied entry to Macau. Wong asked Lam if she will raise concerns to the Macau government, and consider punishments to bar Macanese people from entering Hong Kong if Macau does not respond to concerns.
Lam said in response that Macau’s immigration policy should be respected, as it was within the Macanese government’s rights to make such decisions.
“You said we should tell Macau’s chief executive and lawmakers that our lawmakers are only going to Macau to attend conferences or to teach and there’s no need to treat them as radicals – I will do so, and in fact you may not know even if I have already done so,” Lam said.