Several Canadian lawmakers have condemned the assault on the Hong Kong Epoch Times printing facility, calling on the Chinese regime to respect freedom of the press.
Four masked men barged into the Epoch Times printing facility in Hong Kong on April 12, smashing equipment with sledgehammers and dumping construction debris onto machines. The attack caused the facility to temporarily suspend operations.
“I was shocked to learn that there was such a blatant attack. This is a direct violation of international norms of protecting freedom of the press, freedom of speech,” said MP James Bezan, the Conservative Party’s shadow minister for national defence.
Bezan described the attackers as “thugs who are more than likely connected to the Communist Party of China,” and said their act of violence was an attempt to deny the “proper democratic processes in Hong Kong.”
“This is just more evidence and proof that the Communist Party of China is more interested in stopping free speech, in destroying the norms of human right, and civil liberties that we enjoy throughout the democratic world,” he said.
“We must all continue to stand together in the face of this tyranny that’s coming right from the highest levels of Beijing.”
Independent Sen. Marilou McPhedran noted that freedom of the press is key to democracy and peace, and an attack on a free press that appears “to be connected to the state that is trying to repress or silence media” is a situation that “concerns all of us in the world as global citizens.”
“This latest attack is an indicator of the very serious decline in Hong Kong,” McPhedran said. “And again, we see China as the chief bully of the world.”
The Conservative Party’s foreign affairs critic Michael Chong earlier condemned the attack, and called on Ottawa to speak out against the Chinese regime’s crackdown on freedom of the press in Hong Kong.
“This attack follows Beijing’s ban on the BBC from broadcasting in China, and the expulsion of dozens of foreign journalists from mainland China,” Chong said in a statement. “The suppression of an independent press in China is concerning. Conservatives call on the Trudeau government to stand up and speak out against Beijing’s crackdown in Hong Kong and on a free press.”
This latest attack marks the fifth time that the Epoch Times Hong Kong office has been attacked. Most recently in November 2019, intruders wielding batons started a fire in the printing warehouse, causing extensive damage.
“This criminal act that took place on April 12th—the second on the facility in the last eighteen months—is the latest development in Hong Kong’s ever-increasing crackdown on fundamental freedoms and human rights—particularly, in this case, freedom of the press and freedom of expression,” Conservative Sen. Thanh Hai Ngo said in a statement.
“I categorically condemn this brutal attack on the printing press of The Epoch Times—known for its independent, honest and uncensored coverage of China and the Chinese Communist Party,” Ngo said. “We can only safeguard these values by ensuring that all media is able to publish freely, without fear of violent retribution.”
Conservative MP Kenny Chiu said the people of Hong Kong shouldn’t be subjected to violent attacks like what occurred in The Epoch Times facility in Hong Kong, and said freedom of the press should be upheld.
“I know that for The Epoch Times, they have sustained multiple attacks already. And that’s something that people from around the world, from free democratic countries like Canada—I can certainly understand how repugnant that is, and would like to denounce any such activity,” he said.
Conservative MP Arnold Viersen also joined the chorus of voices against the attack on freedom of the press.
“I am alarmed by these latest reports of attacks on media like The Epoch Times,” Viersen said. “I am calling on the Liberal government to stand up and speak out against Beijing’s crackdown in Hong Kong and on a free press.”
With reporting by NTD Television.