Hong Kong: Multiple media outlets barred from attending swearing-in of new chief executive


Multiple media outlets and independent newspapers in Hong Kong have been barred from attending the inauguration of incoming leader John Lee. They also won’t be able to cover other July 1 events celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Handover, Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) reported. The decision has been taken by authorities due to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic restrictions and security reasons. 

HKFP revealed that Japan’s Nikkei, Asahi Shimbun and Kyodo News were not invited. Taiwan’s CTV, United States’ Getty Images, Hong Kong’s InMedia, PSHK, TMHK and HKFP were not invited. Apart from these, the European Pressphoto Agency did not receive an invite. 

Lee will assume office on July 1. The day coincides with the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s transfer from British to Chinese rule and the halfway point of the “One Country, Two Systems” political model. 

If reports are to be believed, Chinese President Xi Jinping might attend the festivities. Media reports said that the hotels around Wan Chai’s exhibition centre are apparently booked out by the government. In July 2017, Xi attended the swearing-in of Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam as part of a three-day trip. 

Lee was chosen as the next chief in early May. The 64-year-old is a former security chief and he oversaw the crackdown on Hong Kong’s democracy movement. He was the sole candidate in the race and received 99 per cent of the vote. 

HKFP stated that the Information Services Department (ISD) invited select broadcasters to nominate 20 reporters to attend. Meanwhile, other news outlets were able to send ten journalists. 

A spokesperson told HKFP, “The Government has adopted suitable media arrangements after taking into consideration the latest epidemic situation, security requirements and venue constraints, etc.” “These factors pose impact on the number of media organisations being invited to apply for accreditation,” they added. 

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