Ahead of the June 22 Executive Council meeting, Chief Executive Carrie Lam says the National Security Law is well defined and journalists should be in a position to judge whether someone has breached the law. (Photo/news.gov.hk)
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Tuesday lashed out at the "double standards" the United States adopted when criticizing the arrests of five executives of the local tabloid Apple Daily under the National Security Law.
Speaking to the media ahead of the weekly Executive Council, Lam said the U.S. politicians' accusations over the issue were unfounded and urged them to not beautify acts endangering national security, which are intolerable even on their own soil.
The suspects were arrested last Thursday for allegedly conspiring to invite foreign sanctions against the city and the nation through their reports. Some U.S. politicians claimed it was suppressing freedom of the press.
The five people arrested are Apple Daily Editor-in-Chief Ryan Law Wai-kwong, Apple Daily's parent company Next Digital CEO Cheung Kim-hung, Next Digital Chief Operating Officer Chow Tat-kuen, as well as the paper's Deputy Chief Editor Chan Pui-man and Chief Executive Editor Cheung Chi-wai.
Lam said these alleged acts endangering national security have gone beyond the domain of normal journalistic work, and the arrests were based on clear evidence. She cautioned these U.S. politicians to not underplay the seriousness of breaching the National Security Law.
She also stressed that news media executives shall not use their position as a "protective cover" to disobey the law.
Lam pledged that the HKSAR government will strictly enforce the law and hold offenders accountable, so that such significant legislation would not become an "empty shell".