|LCQ19: Hong Kong journalists to conduct lawful reporting activities on the Mainland
Following is a question by Hon Emily Lau and a written reply by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, in the Legislative Council today (December 16):
At the Council meeting on October 21 this year, I moved a motion on the incident of Hong Kong journalists being assaulted by law enforcement officers while covering news in Xinjiang. Some of the Members who spoke at the meeting indicated that they hoped the mainland authorities would investigate this incident, and Hon Ip Kwok-him, who is also a Hong Kong deputy to the National People's Congress, indicated that his party "will continue to monitor……the progress of the investigation", but "before there is any investigation outcome, ……have reservations about moving a motion of condemnation". In his response, the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs did not mention whether the mainland authorities have investigated the incident. In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council whether:
(a) it knows if the mainland authorities have investigated the aforesaid incident; if it knows that investigation has been conducted, whether it will make enquiries with the mainland authorities about the progress and expected completion date of the investigation, as well as whether the mainland authorities will release the investigation outcome;
(b) it has taken any action to follow up the aforesaid incident; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and
(c) it will convey to the mainland authorities the views expressed by the Legislative Council Members at the aforesaid motion debate and urge the mainland authorities to investigate thoroughly the said incident and ensure that enforcement officers will not cause harm to journalists again?
The HKSAR Government (the Government) has been very concerned about the incident in early September this year involving Hong Kong journalists being taken away by Mainland public security officers. The Government has been following up the matter. Regarding the matters raised in the question, our response is as follows:
Immediately after the incident, the Government enquired with the concerned Mainland authorities to find out the latest situation and provided practicable assistance to the concerned Hong Kong journalists, who were released soon afterwards. The Government also conveyed the strong views of the Hong Kong media to the Government of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region through the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council (HKMAO).
During the debate of the motion on "Defending Press Freedom" at the Council meeting on October 21, a number of Members expressed their wish for the Government to convey in a timely manner the concern and views of the Hong Kong media to the relevant Mainland authorities, and to ensure that the rights of Hong Kong journalists to conduct lawful reporting activities in the Mainland would be protected. In fact, we have on several occasions helped convey their views in this respect. Although the original motion and motion as amended were not supported, after the motion debate we have again conveyed Members' views through the HKMAO, including the wish expressed by some Members for the relevant Mainland authorities to re-investigate the incident and publicly disclose the investigation results.??
Our main focus is to ensure that Hong Kong journalists are able to conduct lawful reporting activities in the Mainland. The Government has all along been following up the matter through appropriate channels. When the Chief??Executive met the Minister of Public Security just before the National Day of the PRC this year, the opportunity was taken to express again the Government's concern over the matter. The Minister of Public Security stated clearly that he understood the Government's concern, and reiterated that the Central Authority's established policy was to protect the rights of the Hong Kong journalists to conduct lawful reporting activities in the Mainland.
Ends/Wednesday, December 16, 2009