Beijing [China], June 26 (ANI): China's foreign ministry has dismissed US President Joe Biden's statement on the closure of Hong Kong's pro-democracy Apple Daily newspaper and asked Washington to stop interfering in the country's internal affairs.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Friday that Hong Kong falls under China's internal affairs. He urged Washington to respect facts and stop obstructing law enforcement in the special administrative region, reported NHK World.
Zhao said that US actions are interfering in China's internal affairs and referred to the arrests of the paper's senior members for allegedly violating the national security law of Hong Kong.
He said the law is aimed at cracking down on a handful of people who are seriously harming national security and safeguarding the rights and freedom of a large number of people in Hong Kong, including freedom of the press.
Zhao also said it is distorting facts to call a probe into a media outlet and its senior officials a crackdown on press freedom, reported NHK World.
When Hong Kong-based newspaper Apple Daily closed its doors after 26 years due to government crackdown, US President Joe Biden on Thursday termed it as a sad day for media freedom in Hong Kong and around the world.
In a statement by the White House, the US president noted that through arrests, threats, and forcing through a draconian National Security Law that penalises free speech, Beijing has insisted on wielding its power to suppress independent media and silence dissenting views.
"Independent media play an invaluable role in resilient and prosperous societies. Journalists are truth-tellers who hold leaders accountable and keep information flowing freely--and that is needed now more than ever in Hong Kong, and in places around the world where democracy is under threat," he said.
Apple Daily on Wednesday announced that it is shutting its operations earlier than expected, after 26 years of service, and will stop publishing online from midnight and its management decided to run its last print edition from today.
Earlier on Wednesday, Hong Kong's national security police detained the paper's lead editorial writer on suspicion of conspiracy to collude with foreign forces, the first such arrest under the Beijing-imposed legislation.
Since the arrest of five of its top executives last Thursday, Apple Daily has lost nearly half its workforce. But those remaining on Tuesday vowed to carry on through the end. The Hong Kong police had raided Apple Daily's headquarters and arrested the executives.
The closure of the newspaper was heavily condemned by the international community, with many saying that the Hong Kong government undermines media freedom and pluralism. (ANI)