Lawmakers, experts, and organizations around the world decried the latest attack on The Epoch Times’ printing press in Hong Kong, saying it would not be a surprise if the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was behind the attack in an attempt to silence reporting critical of the regime.
In the early hours on Monday, four men wearing masks—two of whom wielded sledgehammers—barged into the printing warehouse and smashed machinery and computers for approximately two minutes before leaving with a computer. No staff members were hurt during the incident.
Rep. Michael McCaul“It’s no secret that the CCP uses, or at least enables, violent and anonymous plainclothes thugs as part of its efforts to crush dissent in Hong Kong. This incident is further proof that the CCP is extending its repression into Hong Kong, destroying ‘one country, two systems.'”
French Senator André Gattolin"It is completely unacceptable, it is again a repeated attack against the press, against freedom of expression and therefore against democracy in Hong Kong. We see it there again, and it is not the first time since there have already been four incidents at The Epoch Times; the modus operandi is revealing of an authoritarian state.
"It’s very clear that this is a deliberate, organized aggression in the current policy of total repression in Hong Kong. After the laws on national security, the law changing the electoral system, they want to suppress those who still dare to speak out. If they don't attack journalists, they attack the media. The printing company is the place where the news is reproduced and distributed, and as such, it is indeed scandalous. As a former newspaper publisher in France, I am in total solidarity with the Epoch Times team and of course with the people of Hong Kong who see their freedoms reduced every day.
Scott Griffen, deputy director of International Press Institute"We are outraged by this latest attack on The Epoch Times, which comes at a time when the Chinese government is methodically and brutally stripping away the fundamental rights, including freedom of expression, of the people of Hong Kong.
Michael Chong, MP, Canadian Conservative Party shadow minister for Foreign Affairs"The Chinese communist leadership continues to violate international law in Hong Kong by breaching the terms of the 1984 Joint Declaration, which guarantees freedom of the press and freedom of speech.
"This attack follows Beijing’s ban on the BBC from broadcasting in China, and the expulsion of dozens of foreign journalists from mainland China.
The International Society for Human Rights (ISHR)"By attacking the newspaper, the perpetrators want to intimidate critical media and dissenters," said Hubert Körper, spokesman for IGFM's China working committee.
Martin Patzelt, member of the German Parliament"As a member of the German Federal Parliament and a member of the Committee on Human Rights and rapporteur for South-East Asia, I strongly condemn these actions and repeated destruction against an independent newspaper as an attack on freedom of the press and freedom of expression," he told Epoch Times.
"In Hong Kong in particular, it is more important than ever that there continue to be independent media outlets that report clearly, as Epoch Times has always done with unflinching and independent reporting on the pro-democracy Hong Kong movement and also on human rights abuses in China."
Rep. Ralph Norman“Tyranny thrives when those who expose it cannot be heard. This was clearly an attempt to silence the Epoch Times, and I condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms. Around the world, enemies of free speech must be met with resolve, resilience, and even louder voices. I will celebrate with the Epoch Times when their printing presses are soon rolling again in Hong Kong.”
Tony Shaffer, president of London Center for Policy Research"The recent attacks on The Epoch Times offices in Hong Kong reflects both the new political reality where the government of Hong Kong is willing to defer to the interests CCP/PRC.
Reporters Without Borders“By leaving previous attacks on journalists unpunished and creating a climate of suspicion against independent media outlets, the Hong Kong authorities are encouraging such violence,” says Cédric Alviani, head of RSF East Asia bureau, who calls on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam to “put an end to her government’s attacks, which are threatening media independence, and restore full freedom of the press as enshrined in the Basic Law she is supposed to enforce.”
Ellie Cohanim, former US Deputy Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism"Chinese Communist Party is trying to silence one of its most effective critics: @EpochTimes.
Sir Iain Duncan Smith, UK MP“The recent attack on The Epoch Times printing press in Hong Kong is shocking and a crime against a free and independent press.
Sen. Pat Toomey“The Chinese Communist Party is actively stifling any semblance of a free press in Hong Kong. These actions are a direct contradiction of the Basic Law, and should serve as a reason for greater sanctions through the Hong Kong Autonomy Act.”
Henri Malosse, former president of the European Economic and Social Committee"I think what happened in Hong Kong, it's a big worry because we see that the Communist Party of China is now transforming Hong Kong into just a normal communist Chinese province.
"And all the violence against the Falun Gong stand and Information Office are showing that they didn't consider at all Hong Kong as a separate system, they just introduced their dictatorship and their violence policy against freedom of religion, freedom of thought, political freedom in Hong Kong, as well as in other parts of China."
US State Department spokesperson"We condemn the attack on the Epoch Times' printing plant and urge the Hong Kong authorities to thoroughly investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice.
"The United States is concerned by increased efforts to silence independent media and otherwise suppress freedom of expression, including the politically motivated targeting of journalists.
"We are committed to standing up for press freedom and freer and wider access to information and ideas around the world.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo“The attack on The Epoch Times and on the free press in Hong Kong is appalling, but not unexpected. The Chinese Communist Party continues to demonstrate they will not honor their agreement on the freedom of the people of Hong Kong. The United States should send a clear message that continuing to oppress the people of Hong Kong and eroding their freedoms, particularly the freedom of the press will not be tolerated.”
Markus Wiechel (SD), member of the Swedish Parliament“That was terrible news. The Epoch Times fulfills an extremely important function as one of the very few independent media in Hong Kong and which also deals with uncensored review, which, to put it mildly, is an indescribably important function. Not least in these times when we see recurring violations of fundamental human rights and freedoms, which of course also include the right to freedom of the press and expression, those who stand up for these inviolable values also need to act.
Rep. Louie Gohmert“At a time when most news organizations have become nothing more than mouthpieces for radical leftist ideology, The Epoch Times stands out as a valuable asset in the fight for truth and fair reporting. The attack on its Hong Kong printing press is an age old battle between good versus evil as dishonest, power-lusting people attack free speech across the world. Hopefully, there will be courageous lovers of truth who will make their voices heard in condemning the barbarity.”
Rep. Byron Donalds“As our nation experiences cancel culture and big tech censorship of conservative voices, the tactics of corporate America and the mainstream media resemble that of the CCP, not our Constitutional Republic. The recent attack on the Hong Kong Epoch Times Printing Press is a direct attack against the freedoms we hold dear in America and deserve universal condemnation. The world has seen first-hand the deadly impact of the CCP’s lack of transparency, and we must have more journalist organization reporting on the atrocities of this regime.”
Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong"The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong strongly condemns the attack on The Epoch Times’ printing presses and calls for the perpetrators to be brought swiftly to justice.
"The newspaper posted CCTV images of the four attackers smashing equipment with sledgehammers and said that they had threatened staff with violence during the early morning raid on Monday 12 April.
"The FCC insists that media should be able to operate freely without fear of violence in Hong Kong regardless of their political stance.
Lord Philip Hunt of Kings Heath, UK"Very shocked to hear this. The Epoch Times is an amazing independent media outlet in Hong Kong, fearless and standing up for a free press and human rights. May its voice never be silenced.
Benedict Rogers, co-founder and chief executive of Hong Kong Watch“This attack on The Epoch Times is yet another deplorable example of increasing threats to media freedom and freedom of expression in Hong Kong, and should be condemned unequivocally.”
Lord David Alton, UK"The Nobel Laureate, Liu Xiaobo, once said that ‘Freedom of expression is the foundation of human rights, the source of humanity and the mother of truth.’ Those who become enemies of freedom of speech, who smash up printing presses or threaten journalists, have no respect for human rights and show their fear of truth. Paradoxically, their use of violence, intimidation, and brute force, reveals their weakness and the nature of their ideology.”
Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China“The freedom of press is an absolute requirement in any state that respects the rule of law. If the Hong Kong authorities really were independent champions of their democratic system, they’d defend The Epoch Times. That they won’t tells you all you need to know: Hong Kong has slipped into the grips of an authoritarian communist party that will tolerate no criticism.”
Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, UK“Freedom of the press is fundamental to a democracy. Crushing the media and independent journalism is the way to deny citizens information about abuses of power and about the loss of their rights. Wrecking computers and printing equipment is the act of those who despise democracy.”
Wong On-yin, Hong Kong senior journalist“The Epoch Times is the hope of Hong Kong. If you are still here, Hong Kong still has hope.”
Hermann Tertsch, member of European Parliament“No one who denounces the barbaric human rights violations of the communist regime in Beijing is safe from reprisals by the dictatorship. But there is no stepping back.”
Michael Johns, former White House speechwriter to President George H.W. Bush and Tea Party movement co-founder"One of the most obvious attributes of a tyrannical, communist regime is its intolerance for independent media. Following the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, for instance, one of the Soviets' first acts was the implementation of their so-called Decree on the Press, which brought all media under control of the government. Similarly, after the 1959 communist revolution in Cuba, all media was brought under the control of the government's Department of Revolutionary Orientation. Importantly, when Zhao Ziyang signed the Sino-British Declaration on Hong Kong in December 1984, China committed to preserving Hong Kong's political independence and sovereignty for fifty years. But we have now witnessed case after case—from the illegal rewriting of Hong Kong's security laws to the crushing of rallies and free speech—that demonstrate a complete violation of this treaty. In now stifling Hong Kong's freedom of press, China's Communist Party is sending the message that its signature on a treaty is worth nothing. The world needs to take close notice of this fact.
Laura Harth, campaign director, Safeguard Defenders"I have no doubt one of the main—if not the biggest—‘crimes’ the CCP holds freedom-loving Hong Kongers responsible for is that of having shown the entire world the true face of this cruel regime. Hong Kong’s free press opened a window of priceless value into the true nature of the CCP and its contempt for universal values. Many of us asked ourselves how long these courageous voices and press staff would be allowed to continue, and unfortunately the answer is becoming clear all too rapidly. Between Jimmy Lai’s warning from prison, Yvonne Tong’s resignation and the egregious attack on Epoch Times’ printing press yesterday, the regime’s intention is all too clear: impose the same wall of censorship and control reigning the mainland, impeding the world their right to know and possibility to act upon that evidence.
Anders Corr, publisher, Journal of Political Risk"The sabotage of equipment of Epoch Times in Hong Kong is the latest attack on freedom of speech in that city, which since at least the 1990s has come under increasing pressure by the CCP in the form of threats, bribes, and arrests of those who champion human rights and freedom against totalitarianism. The attack is a badge of honor for Epoch Times, albeit an expensive one. It shows that they are producing hard-hitting journalism against the CCP at a time when exposing the CCP is critically important to freedom not only today, but into the foreseeable future. The use of sledge hammers against a press shows what kind of thuggish future the world can look forward to if the CCP is not stopped. The time in which to do this without great global harm is growing short."
Sen. Rick Scott"Reports of attacks on free press are extremely concerning. Senator Scott will always stand with the people of Hong Kong fighting for their freedom," Sen. Rick Scott's (R-Fla.) office told The Epoch Times in an email. "Now more than ever, the United States must stand up for democracy and human rights, and fight against Communist China's aggression and quest for global dominance."
Rep. Devin Nunes“The repeated, violent attacks on The Epoch Times shock the conscience,” Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement.
Rep. Jim BanksRep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) described the attack as “reprehensible.”
Rep. Mike DoyleAny violent assault on news media deserves the harshest condemnation.
Rep. Michelle Steel“The attack on The Epoch Times Hong Kong is a direct assault on Hong Kong’s free press," said Rep. Michelle Steel (R-Calif.). "The Chinese Communist Party cannot continue to intimidate and infringe on freedom of the press in Hong Kong. If it is true that the CCP was behind these attacks, they must be held accountable.”
Rep. Brian Babin“This is just another attempt by the Chinese Communist Party to silence the voices of truth-tellers in Hong Kong. I reject and condemn all attacks on free speech and the free press!," Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) said in an emailed statement to The Epoch Times.
Rep. Greg Steube“This is proof of how far the CCP will go to silence anyone who does not support their communist regime. We will not back down to their intimidation tactics, and this event should not stop publications like The Epoch Times from speaking out against the CCP's actions and humanitarian crimes," Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) said in a statement. "This attack on free speech is one of the many reasons why holding communist China accountable is a top priority for me in Congress.”
Rep. Scott Perry“The Chinese Communist Party is a ‘thugocracy that relies on intimidation, extortion, and violence to suppress freedom and those who strive for truth and self-government by consent. It would be no surprise if the CCP were behind such an attack as they consistently seek to extinguish any light that exposes the dark sea of repression that keeps their illegitimate government afloat,” Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) wrote in a statement.
Rep. Russ FulcherWe cannot underestimate the impact and importance of the Epoch Time’s work—and that’s why they’re consistently a target. Standing in the face of the largest perpetrators against free speech (China), the Epoch Times is a one of the only independent outlets in Hong Kong. Please know we are praying for your continued safety and strength in the face of these violent attacks.
Robert Spalding, retired US Air Force brigadier general"There is no freedom of the press in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is gone."
Miles Yu, senior fellow at Hudson Institute“If the Hong Kong government has any credibility left, and wants to convince the world that HK is still a safe and stable society, it should conduct an immediate investigation and prosecute those responsible.”
Reggie Littlejohn, founder and president of Women's Rights Without Frontiers"The attack on the Epoch Times printing press is part of the totalitarian takeover of Hong Kong by the CCP. Tyrants are threatened by truth, and so have sought to intimidate the Epoch Times by repeatedly attacking their offices. The journalists at the Epoch Times are heroic in their courage and persistence. They will continue to expose the evil of the CCP no matter what the personal or professional cost."
Javier Larrondo Calafat, Prisoners Defenders EU representative“We condemn the attack on The Epoch Times in Hong Kong. When a media outlet is attacked for defending freedom of information, its vital importance becomes even more apparent. Supporting free journalism in the world is a duty of all nations and citizens.”
Lucio Malan, member of Italian Parliament“This is yet another act of brutality against Hong Kong's democracy and freedom by the Beijing regime. That such an attack could happen without the connivance of the Chinese communist authorities is totally ruled out. Alongside sophisticated 21st century technology, Beijing also uses methods that are a hundred or two hundred years old. [Italian Foreign Affairs] Minister Di Maio must still answer my question asking why Italy abstained on the UN resolution condemning the repression of the opposition in the former British colony.”
María Herrera Mellado, Spanish Vox party representative“The violence carried out against The Epoch Times media in Hong Kong is disturbing. At a time when socialism and cancel culture is advancing by leaps and bounds, and even totalitarian regimes are being whitewashed, ordinary citizens and especially lawyers must unite to defend freedom of the press, a fundamental right and the cornerstone for living in a full democracy.”
Rosa María Payá, Cuban activist, executive director of the Foundation for Pan-American Democracy:“Just like its ally, the Communist Party of Cuba, the Chinese Communist Party also demonstrates its censorious nature and its fear of citizens' freedom of speech. When they cannot silence the people with fear, they turn to violence. We extend our solidarity to the brave journalists of Epoch Times in Hong Kong. Only the voices and actions of the international community can break the impunity of the repression of CCP's totalitarian power.”
Canadian Sen. Marilou McPhedranThis latest attack, on a newspaper in Hong Kong that is known for strong points of view, is very concerning as were the previous attacks. I think it is excellent that we've heard from the [U.S.] State Department, with concerns about what this means for freedom of the press.
Freedom of the press is key to a democracy. It is key to a peaceful world. And when we have attacks like this, regardless of where they come from, but especially if they appear to be connected to the state that is trying to repress or silence media, then we have 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. And again, we see China as the chief bully of the world.
Arnold Viersen, MP, Conservative Party of CanadaA free and independent press is essential for human rights and dignity to flourish. I am alarmed by these latest reports of attacks on media like the Epoch Times. 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.
Kenny Chiu, MP, Conservative Party of CanadaWhen the magazine [Charlie Hebdo] in Paris was under attack, even to the extreme of people being killed, … we stood together with [them] and denounced the oppression and the crime and the suppression of freedom of speech around the world. And in the same way, I would not want to see the people in Hong Kong, given such a precious freedom of press that they have and enjoy for so many decades, for over a century, … be threatened by … violent attacks like that.
James Bezan, MP, shadow minister for national defence for the Conservative Party of CanadaI 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. To see a bunch of thugs who are more than likely connected to the Communist Party of China, carrying out this attack is disturbing and disgusting.
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. ...
Hirofumi Ryu, Member of the House of Representatives of JapanThe Epoch Times has been harshly criticizing the Chinese Communist Party from the standpoint of seeking freedom and democracy. If this is the background of the incident, it would be a very terrible situation.
It's a repeated harassment, or an act that is absolutely unacceptable. It is a challenge to Hong Kong's speech and freedom. I hope the police will arrest the criminal as soon as possible. The criminals should be punished, and the police should investigate their background.
David Lega (KD), Swedish Member of the European ParliamentI really regret that The Epoch Times was subject to this attack. To attack media is to attack freedom of expression and free press, which is fundamental in a democracy. So it’s extremely serious.
Canadian Sen. Thanh Hai NgoI 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 (CCP). I urge the Hong Kong authorities to ensure that a thorough investigation into these events takes place, and the perpetrators swiftly brought to justice. We can only safeguard these values by ensuring that all media is able to publish freely, without fear of violent retribution.
Chiu Chui-cheng, deputy minister of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs CouncilThe Mainland Affairs Council severely condemns this violent act of suppressing freedom of speech and press.
Huang Pengxiao, former Taiwanese legislatorThese attacks are a typical example of collusion between the red tyranny and the mafia. It’s hard to imagine that this kind of barbarous attack and harassment has happened in Hong Kong, a place that used to be a model of civilization and rule of law in Asia. It’s really heartbreaking [to see this].
Wang Ting-Yu, Taiwanese legislatorThe boss that backs Hong Kong police is the Chinese Communist Party. They are the biggest criminal organization and murderers.
Chao Tien-lin, Taiwanese legislatorWith the thugs having attacked it so many times, the police has not solved any of the cases. This leads one to suspect whether the Hong Kong security system is discriminatory. On some levels, could it be a result of the CCP's orders? I think for Hong Kong, which has a free economy and had enjoyed relative democracy and freedom in the past, this is quite dangerous.
Chiu Hsien-chih, Taiwanese legislatorWas the state behind this attack? Were there government factors involved? Why can’t the police ever find the thugs? This definitely is a great violation of press freedom and individuals’ freedom. The attacks will also cause the so-called chilling effect [on Hong Kong people].
Leung Man-To, professor at Taiwan National Cheng Kung UniversityThese are all done under the tacit approval of the Hong Kong government. It must have been planned by the CCP. Of course, we must condemn it!
Witold Waszczykowski, Member of the European Parliament, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland in 2015-2018The attack on the printing plant of “The Epoch Times” is another indication that the Chinese Communist Party is a tyranny not only by name. The brutal suppression of the freedom of expression in Hong Kong proves that the authorities in Beijing don’t have the support of its [Hong Kong's] people.
Małgorzata Prokop-Paczkowska, Polish MP, member of the Lewica partyAll the attacks on the freedom of the media are very concerning and saddening–for myself and my party “Lewica”. We certainly condemn all similar attacks and this one too. Unfortunately, such things are happening in the People’s Republic of China since many years. Economic successes, which this country is undoubtedly achieving, and the increase in prosperity, certainly sometimes make the public opinion forget about the taking away of the civil liberties and freedom of expression – which the Chinese government is doing. But it shouldn’t be like that.
Grzegorz Bierecki, Senator of the Republic of PolandIndependent press is the foundation of freedom and democracy. Without it the economic success of the country is destroyed by corruption and nepotism, and the society is deprived of the fruits of its hard work. China in its own well-understood interest should defend freedom of press.
Waldemar Sługocki, member of the Polish ParliamentThis type of situations raise concern and are unacceptable, because free media is the basis on which a democratic country and a civil society are built. Freedom of expression, which the free media provide, is essential for the citizens of any country in the world in order to get to know the facts and also to familiarize themselves with different points of view on various issues, that are important for the citizens of various countries.
Of course, journalists, the media, should also act according to the law and within the law. We know however that the free media are the backbone of democracy and of the civil society and any assault, any attack on them, is a matter of concern and should be reviled and condemned.