A day after a violent assault on the printing press of the Hong Kong version of The Epoch Times, the outlet stated it will by no means give in to intimidation, stress, or sabotage makes an attempt by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), at a press convention in Washington on April 13.
In the early hours of Monday, 4 males broke into the printing warehouse of the Hong Kong version of The Epoch Times. The perpetrators smashed printing tools with sledgehammers and tossed development particles on it earlier than fleeing the scene in a white van. They threatened the employees onsite to not do something that might compel them to take motion.
The printing plant suffered intensive harm from the assault, which affected a number of computer systems, the transmitter, and a CPU, and compelled the Hong Kong version to droop printing in the meanwhile.
June Guo, the director of the Hong Kong version of The Epoch Times, stated the assault was the newest in a protracted line of actions geared toward crippling the outlet.
“The Chinese Communist Party has used every trick in the book to suppress The Epoch Times in Hong Kong in an attempt to prevent the city’s people from getting independent news,” Guo stated. “The Epoch Times is one of the few remaining voices in the Hong Kong media landscape that does not bend to the CCP.”
In November 2019, through the top of the mass pro-democracy protests within the metropolis, 4 masked males broke into the identical printing facility and set hearth to the tools. The arson resulted in an estimated damage of $40,000. The printing press has been focused three different occasions since its founding in 2006.
While The Epoch Times Hong Kong will improve safety measures, that in itself shouldn’t be sufficient to counter the impact of declining press freedom, Guo stated.
Since October final 12 months, workers from the warehouse have been monitored by unknown autos, she stated.
In March, a Hong Kong host of the outlet’s on-line present affairs applications acquired a message that mainland China police had delivered to her relative, that she ought to cease broadcasting or face arrest below the brand new National Security Law. Last July, the CCP imposed a nationwide safety regulation on town that punishes vaguely outlined crimes together with secession and collusion with international forces, which critics say is a software used to suppress dissent.
Guo vowed to renew publishing the newspaper by Friday, when a Hong Kong courtroom will announce the sentencing of a number of key pro-democracy activists.
“We will not back down, and will never bow to evil forces,” she stated.
Preliminary Police Statement
Hong Kong police’s organized crime squad has taken over the investigation. In an in a single day assertion to AFP, the police said they acquired a report that the assault was associated to a dispute over a debt.
“Police received a report saying that the suspects claimed the staff from the above company owed loans and used hammers to destroy five computer screens and one printer,” the assertion stated.
“The story we can say is a ruse, and most likely planted in order to deflect attention away from the obvious culprit here which is the Chinese Communist Party,” stated Stephen Gregory, the writer of the U.S.-based newspaper, within the press convention.
Guo confirmed that there have been no excellent money owed by the warehouse or the Hong Kong Epoch Times.
The police assertion appeared to seek advice from a notice left by the attackers on the scene, Gregory stated.
“In order to gain access to the print shop, the first man who blocked the door demanded to see Mr. Chu, he wants to see Mr. Chu right away—there is no Mr. Chu who works in the Hong Kong print shop,” he stated. Despite being advised so by the lady he confronted, the person shortly let in three different attackers. The 4 later left a notice that the police discovered asserting the debt declare, Gregory stated.
Journalist watchdogs have known as for the police to conduct thorough investigation and maintain the attackers accountable.
Police investigations into the earlier assaults on The Epoch Times printing press haven’t introduced significant outcomes, Guo famous, calling for worldwide help for the outlet to proceed its mission.
What occurred to the printing plant “allows the world to see what it means to live under the Chinese Communist Party,” Gregory stated.
“The world needs to push back,” stated Gregory. “They need to stand up for democracy, they need to stand up for human rights, they need to let the Chinese Communist Party know it’s not going to have a free hand taking democracy and human rights away from the people of Hong Kong and people around the world.”
Cathy He contributed to this report.