London – Ronson Chan, President of the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA), was formally charged with obstructing police work in the Chinese government-run area less than a week before starting a fellowship program at Oxford University in the United States.
Chan was detained on September 7 at MacPherson Stadium in Mong Kok after he had a falling out with two police officers while watching a hosts committee meeting.
At the hearing on Thursday, he was released on bail and allowed to travel, on the condition that Hong Kong police keep his address and mobile number up to date while in the UK and remain in custody, even outside the country.
Pressure on journalists on Chinese soil
The HKJA is Hong Kong’s leading journalists association and one of the few to resist worsening censorship progress since 2020, when a new National Security Law was enacted to silence dissidents who oppose policies implemented by China after the region returned. to their control.
Although Ronson Chan did not have a travel ban, he reported hearing comments such as “We’ll see when you die” when he was taken to the police station after a shootout with police officers on September 7. “.
Chan told local reporters that he acted within his rights and refused to cooperate with officers until he presented his identity.
Police claimed that the person refused to give his identity and “did not cooperate”.
Before the court after the decision allowing him to travel, he said he was surprised that he was not prevented from traveling to the UK due to the international repercussions of the indictment.
The Reuters Institute for Journalism Studies, where he will spend six months participating in the Journalist Fellowship program with professionals from other countries, has issued a welcome note.
also @risj_oxford We look forward to welcoming you #Hong Kong Journalist Ronson Chan to Oxford in October as part of our Journalist Fellowship. Here is the statement from our manager @rasmus_kleis pic.twitter.com/EpQnOGxDpN
— Reuters Institute (@risj_oxford) September 22, 2022
Hong Kong: Press freedom broken
Freedom of the press has virtually disappeared in Hong Kong since China regained control of the region that has become one of the worst places in the world for independent journalists to work. Major newspapers are closed or have been shut down.
The country’s largest publishing conglomerate, Next, shut down after its flagship newspaper, the Apple Daily, was shut down. The group’s owner, journalist Jimmy Lai, has been convicted and is in jail.
Ronson Chan worked for the newspaper StandNews, which closed in 2021 after its newsroom was raided and several directors arrested.
He was not kept in jail, but had to go to the police station to testify. His electronic equipment and badge were confiscated.
Ronson Chan returned to the Stand News office shortly after its release. Photos by Candice Chau/HKFP. Full story on HKFP: https://t.co/5dpRwVunNd pic.twitter.com/BFZi3scfgL
— Hong Kong Free Press HKFP (@hkfp) 29 December 2021
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The climate of intimidation in Hong Kong caused the Foreign Correspondents’ Association to cancel its journalism and human rights award in April this year.
International press freedom and human rights organizations documented the dramatic situation for journalism and journalists in Hong Kong in reports, but the Chinese government or local government did not respond.
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