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Hong Kong limits the scope of Xi visits, major celebrations

Hong Kong journalists remained frustrated and confused after reporters from several media outlets were banned from reporting on the city's largest political event this year. rice field.

Friday is 25 years after Hong Kong was returned to China after more than 150 years of British rule. To commemorate this opportunity, China's President Xi Jinping will visit Hong Kong for the first time since 2017.

Since Xi Jinping's last visit, Hong Kong has endured the major changes caused by the wave of anti-government protests in 2019. Beijing then imposed a national security law on the city, which came into force with a thorough crackdown on all opposition to democratization.

Xi traveled outside mainland China for the first time in more than two years in the COVID-19 pandemic and arrived on Thursday by high-speed train to the territory. After meeting with local government officials, he gave a speech praising the city for overcoming serious challenges. This is a clear reference to recent political instability.

The main event on Friday to commemorate the anniversary of the delivery was to include an oath by the next CEO, John Lee, Xi.

The 25th Anniversary also marks the midpoint of a "one country, two systems" agreement between the United Kingdom and China at the time of delivery, which requires the territory to enjoy "high degree of autonomy." increase. 2047.

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Xi Jinping, center and his wife Peng Liyuan, center left, wave to welcoming crowd as they arrive at a train station in Hong Kong, June 30, 2022. Xi has arrived in Hong Kong ahead of the 25th anniversary of the British handover.
In this photo released by the Xinhua News Agency, it is from China. President Xi On June 30, 2022, Jinping in the center and his wife, Peng Liyuan on the left in the center, waved at a welcoming crowd and arrived at a station in Hong Kong. Xi arrived in Hong Kong before the 25th anniversary of the delivery of the United Kingdom.

Prior to the commemorative event, the Hong Kong Journalists Association said at least 10 journalists from several media had been denied access to the Friday ceremony. Reuters reported.

Two weeks ago, the press club issued a statement urging city officials to "be more comprehensive by accepting applications from media organizations eager to participate."

Agence France-Presse reported that 13 local and international journalists were denied accreditation to cover the celebration of the takeover.

A journalist who was denied AFP certification anonymously told VOA that he would need to pass a three-day COVID-19 PCR test as part of his media certification application. The journalist was negative on the test, but was still denied approval.

Keith Richburg, a professor of journalism and chairman of the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents Club, said the media ban was an event.

'Coming out party'

"I thought this was a big coming out party, so they wanted to show how much Hong Kong had achieved. With over 25 years of hands, they want to have a CEO. They have a legislature only for new patriots. Hong Kong is now under fairly strict control, "he said. Told VOA on the phone.

"I don't know why they don't want to let the world know through international and local media. A lot of people get together to record this and show the world what's going on," he adds. rice field. ..

Richburg, who reported on the delivery of theWashington Postin 1997, said that previous high-level visits always strengthened security, but the last visit for Xi's inauguration. He added that there was no media ban, including. Carrie Lam.

"When the delivery took place in 1997, there was probably over 1,000 media covering it here. No one was banned. Now they choose and choose outlets. It doesn't make sense to me because it looks like it's picking and picking a reporter.

"[2017] I think everyone was able to cover it. It's the first woman. It was an exciting time as the CEO was sworn in, so obviously [Media Ban] is all a bit new and weird. It's a kind of own goal. The story should be about their 25th anniversary now. The story is about media bans, "he added.

The Foreign Correspondents' Association previously issued a statement that it was "deeply concerned" about the media ban.

One of the people who was denied certification was VOA's Mandarin Service Iris Tong. "The number of media organizations we can invite due to the latest trends, security requirements, and venue constraints."

Tong also moved away from the official venue from the Hong Kong Information Services Department. I received an email outlining how to access the ceremony via a streaming service and media workstation.


The overseas public relations team in the information services sector said the government "balances" between "media needs" and VOA. Told to. While refusing to comment on "work and security requirements", which media applied for accreditation.

E-mail said the government "set very high standards for major events in the epidemic" and added that the government promised to "protect freedom of press and speech." rice field.

The security enhancements around the celebration are not just for the city media. Democratic activist Avery N, who was recently released from prison, told VOA that he was constantly being chased by undercover authorities.

"] Authorities]" Kindly "did me to stay away from sensitive areas for the next few days," Ng said in an electronic message.

Anniversary coverage restrictions are related to a two-year-old crackdown on the city's media under the National Security Act.

The online news site Stand News has decided to shut down after seven years of operation in December after police attacked the newsroom as part of a sedition investigation. The

Democratic NewspaperAppleDaily was forced to shut down a year ago after some of its executives were charged under the Peace Preservation Law. Jimmy Lai, the founder of the newspaper, has been in jail since the end of 2020 and has been charged with three charges under security law. He may face life imprisonment.

Reporters Without Borders Media Watchdog recently released the 2022Press Freedom Index. Hong Kong has lowered its ranking from 80th to 148th, with 1 being the most free and 177 not being free. ..