Hong Kong: RSF calls for release of press freedom defender Claudia Mo
Claudia Mo, 64, former Hong Kong Legislative Council member and ex-journalist, who was a prominent press freedom advocate in the territory, faces life imprisonment after being charged with “conspiracy to commit subversion ”under the National Security Law imposed by the Beijing Regime in June 2020, with its next court hearing scheduled for Thursday, July 8, 2021.
Mo has been detained since February 28 along with 46 other personalities from the pro-democracy movement. In April, she was denied bail for the second time, in part on the grounds that she had responded to “foreign media interviews” in the past.
“By accusing Claudia Mo of committing subversion, a crime punishable by life imprisonment, the Chinese regime is clearly demonstrating its determination to silence the vocal defenders of press freedom in Hong Kong”, says Cédric Alviani, head of the RSF East Asia office, urging the Hong Kong government “to immediately release Claudia Mo and drop all charges against her. “
Mo, a former lawmaker who served from 2012 to 2020, was Agence France-Presse (AFP) correspondent from 1986 to 1991, then host of Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) and columnist in Apple Daily and Ming Pao until 2005. In 2019, it cooperated with RSF to organize its World Press Freedom Ranking press conference at the premises of the Legislative Council.
Since Beijing imposed the National Security Law on Hong Kong, which came into effect on June 30, 2020, it has been used against at least ten journalists and press freedom advocates who could now face life sentences. Besides Claudia Mo, four of them are still detained: Apple Daily founder and winner of the RSF Press Freedom Prize 2020 Jimmy lai, its editor-in-chief Ryan Law and its CEO Cheung kim-hung and old News from the stand journalist and activist Gwyneth Ho.
Hong Kong, once a bastion of press freedom, rose from 18th place in 2002 to 80th place on the RSF World Press Freedom Index 2021. The People’s Republic of China, for its part, ranks 177th on 180.