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Hong Kong: RSF calls for release of press freedom defender, Claudia Mo

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Hong Kong: RSF calls for release of press freedom defender, Claudia Mo
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for the immediate release of Hong Kong press freedom defender Claudia Mo, an ex-legislator and former journalist who has been detained for four months and faces a life sentence under the National Security Law.

Claudia Mo, 64, a former Hong Kong Legislative Council member and ex-journalist, who was a prominent defender of press freedom in the territory, is facing a life sentence after being charged with “conspiracy to commit subversion” under the National Security Law imposed by the Beijing regime in June 2020, with her next court hearing scheduled for Thursday 8th of July, 2021.

Mo has been detained since 28th of February along with 46 other figures of the pro-democracy movement. In April, she was denied bail for the second time, partly on the grounds of her having answered to “interviews with foreign media” in the past.

“By accusing Claudia Mo of committing subversion, a crime that bears a life sentence, the Chinese regime clearly demonstrates its determination to silence vocal defenders of press freedom in Hong Kong”, says RSF East Asia bureau head, Cédric Alviani, who urges the Hong Kong government “to immediately release Claudia Mo and drop all charges against her.”

Mo, an ex-legislator who served from 2012 to 2020, was a correspondent for Agence France-Presse (AFP) from 1986 to 1991 and later a host for Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) and columnist in Apple Daily and Ming Pao until 2005. In 2019, she cooperated with RSF to organise its World Press Freedom Index press conference within the Legislative Council premises.

Since Beijing imposed the National Security Law in Hong Kong, which came into force on 30th June 2020, it has been used against at least ten journalists and press freedom defenders who now could face life sentences. In addition to Claudia Mo, four of them are still detained: Apple Daily founder and 2020 RSF Press Freedom Awards laureate Jimmy Lai, its Editor-in-Chief Ryan Law and its CEO Cheung Kim-hung and former Stand News journalist and activist Gwyneth Ho.

Hong Kong, once a bastion of press freedom, has fallen from 18th place in 2002 to 80th place in the 2021 RSF World Press Freedom Index . The People’s Republic of China, for its part, ranks 177th out of 180.

Source – https://rsf.org/en/news/hong-kong-rsf-calls-release-press-freedom-defender-claudia-mo

Image Credit – PETER PARKS / AFP

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