Hong Kong bars some journalists from handover anniversary

Jun 28, 2022, 1:41 PM | Updated: Jun 29, 2022, 5:56 am

A man tours an exhibition to mark the 25th anniversary of the former British colony's return to Chi...

A man tours an exhibition to mark the 25th anniversary of the former British colony's return to Chinese rule, in Hong Kong, Friday, June 24, 2022. Hong Kong authorities, citing "security reasons," have barred more than 10 journalists from covering events and ceremonies this week marking the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China, according to the Hong Kong Journalists Association. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

(AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong authorities, citing security reasons, have barred more than 13 journalists from covering events this week marking the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China, according to the Hong Kong Journalists Association and media reports.

The journalists represent at least seven media outlets, including international news agencies Reuters and Agence France-Presse and several others from Hong Kong, the association said in a statement posted online late Tuesday.

“The authorities have made ad hoc and narrow interview arrangements at this important juncture and have put forth vague grounds for refusal, seriously undermining the freedom of the press in Hong Kong,” the statement said. It said at least 10 journalists have been barred.

The Hong Kong Economic Journal said at least three other journalists from local news outlets were informed Wednesday that their applications to cover the July 1 events were rejected.

Hong Kong police have confirmed that Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit the city for the anniversary of the former British colony’s return to Chinese rule on July 1, 1997. Xi’s visit will be his first trip outside of mainland China since the coronavirus pandemic took hold about 2 1/2 years ago. Police in Hong Kong, a special semi-autonomous region of China, have announced a raft of security measures, including road closures and a no-fly zone.

Strict requirements have been set for those attending the events. Journalists must have daily COVID-19 nucleic acid tests starting last Sunday and stay in a quarantine hotel from Wednesday.

Despite receiving initial approvals that included instructions for checking in to the quarantine hotel, some journalists received rejection notices on Wednesday while on their way to the hotel, while others were informed that they were barred from the events upon arrival, the Hong Kong Economic Journal said.

Authorities had invited media outlets to submit up to 20 applications to cover the events — which include a flag-raising ceremony and the inauguration of the new Hong Kong government — but later specified that only one journalist from each outlet could be sent to cover each of the two events.

Reuters said in a news report it submitted the names of two journalists to cover the events, and that both were rejected.

A Reuters spokesperson said the company was seeking further information on the matter.

The affected Hong Kong media outlets include the English-language South China Morning Post, the Chinese-language newspaper Ming Pao and online news outlet HK01, the journalists association said. The South China Morning Post said in a news report that one of its photographers had been rejected, with no reason given.

Ming Pao and HK01 did not immediately comment. Agence France-Presse declined to comment and a South China Morning Post spokesperson declined to comment beyond their news report.

The affected media organizations were invited to send other journalists to cover the events, but the replacements must also meet the quarantine and testing requirements, according to the journalists association.

The Information Services Department, which sent out the initial invitations to media outlets to register to cover the events, declined to provide information on how many journalists were given accreditation and would not comment on a South China Morning Post report that one of the department’s own photographers had been barred from the events.

“The government is striking a balance as far as possible between the need of media work and security requirements,” the department said in a statement. “We will not comment on the accreditation outcome of individual organizations and persons.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Photo: Construction vehicles are parked outside of the Station U & O building on Tuesday, June 11, ...

Haleluya Hadero, The Associated Press

Amazon adds $1.4B to affordable housing fund for regions where it has corporate offices

Amazon is adding $1.4B to a fund for building more affordable housing in regions where the company has major corporate offices.

14 hours ago

hunter biden...

Randall Chase and the Associated Press

Hunter Biden convicted of all 3 felony charges in federal gun trial

Hunter Biden has been convicted of all three felony charges related to the purchase of a revolver in 2018, but no sentencing date was set.

23 hours ago

Photo: A Bremerton man who made 20 "swatting" calls around the U.S. and in Canada, prompting real e...

Associated Press

Bremerton man sentenced for 20 ‘swatting’ calls of false threats in US, Canada

A Bremerton man who made 20 "swatting" calls around the U.S. and in Canada, prompting real emergency responses, has been sentenced.

2 days ago

Image: U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, left, speaks with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zele...

Associated Press

Ukraine uses US weapons to strike inside Russia, a Western official tells AP

Ukraine has used U.S weapons to strike inside Russia in recent days, according to a Western official familiar with the matter told the AP.

7 days ago

boeing nasa...

Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press

Boeing launches NASA astronauts for the first time after years of delays

Boeing launched astronauts for the first time Wednesday, belatedly joining SpaceX as a second taxi service for NASA.

7 days ago

Image: Amanda Knox, center, arrives at the Florence courtroom in Florence, Italy, Wednesday, June 5...

Associated Press

Amanda Knox reconvicted in Italy for accusing innocent man in roommate’s murder

An Italian court reconvicted Amanda Knox of slander Wednesday, even after she was exonerated in the 2007 murder of her British roommate.

7 days ago

Hong Kong bars some journalists from handover anniversary