BBC, NYT criticised over Article 23 reports

BBC, NYT criticised over Article 23 reports

The government has criticised two foreign media outlets – the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and The New York Times (NYT) – over their reporting relating to Basic Law Article 23 national security laws.

In a statement, a spokesman condemned the BBC for an “extremely misleading report” about remission of sentence under the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance and “the fact-twisting remarks made by anti-China organisations”.

Ma Chun-man, dubbed “Captain America 2.0”, reportedly did not receive an early release this week due to amended rules under the new homegrown security legislation.

According to the government spokesman, “no matter whether before or after the Ordinance comes into effect, the granting of early release is never a necessary right to prisoners.”

“There have been cases in which prisoners convicted of offences endangering national security absconded or continued to carry out acts and activities endangering national security when they were granted early release under supervision. In order to safeguard national security and protect the public, it is necessary to impose more stringent restrictions on the granting of early release to prisoners involved in offences endangering national security,” the statement said.

Amnesty International and Hong Kong Watch expressed worries about the situation in Hong Kong in the BBC report.

Separately, Secretary for Security Chris Tang hit out at NYT over an opinion piece titled “Hongkongers Are Purging the Evidence of Their Lost Freedom”, which questioned whether keeping old copies of the now-defunct Apple Daily newspaper could violate the law.

In a letter to NYT, Tang said a person would only commit the offence of possessing seditious publications if there is no reasonable excuse.

He added that law-abiding people would not inadvertently violate the law.

The security chief urged the newspaper to stop making “scaremongering remarks” and ensure its reports about Hong Kong are fair.

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