Pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho said a question raised by an RTHK reporter about Taiwan being ignored by the World Health Organisation was a “dangerous” one that should never have been asked.
Commenting after the Hong Kong government accused the broadcaster of breaching the 'One China' policy, the outspoken lawmaker said questions about Taiwan should not have been put to the WHO in the first place.
“It would be very sensitive for anyone to ask the WHO when this organisation is strictly enforcing and complying with the 'One China' principle,” said Ho, who is a vocal critic of RTHK programmes.
“Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China. It would be very awkward for any person, especially the official government channel to ask the WHO to interfere or to answer questions which concern the domestic issue,” he said.
In the interview, WHO assistant director-general Bruce Aylward appeared to pretend that he could not hear a question about Taiwan's membership of the WHO and then apparently ended the video call.
Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting expressed shock over the government's criticism.
He said the interview did not violate the 'One China' principle as the reporter did not say Taiwan is an independent country.
Council Front's Claudia Mo, meanwhile, said Taiwan's lack of membership of the WHO had been international news for years.
She criticised the statement issued by the government, saying it is an attempt to suppress press freedom.
Mo said according to the government's logic, RTHK should not be allowed to report any news and elections in Taiwan.
The chairman of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, Chris Yeung, said the question from the RTHK reporter was “reasonable and sensible”.
Yeung said the government’s statement was aimed at putting pressure on the Director of Broadcasting and journalists at RTHK. He warned this could lead to self-censorship.
“That will cast a long shadow on journalists for them to think twice when they ask similar questions next time because that could cross what officials deem as a political red line,” he said.
RTHK reporter's question was dangerous: Junius Ho
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