Statement of Hong Kong
- A free press and a free flow of news and information, including economic and financial information, are the essential bases of successful and rapid economic development.
- News media around the world will denounce any curtailment of press freedom in Hong Kong upon its reversion to China in 1997.
The 10-point Charter for a Free Press has been discussed at this meeting and is attached. It sets out guideposts for an unfettered flow of news and information. It states that censorship, direct or indirect, is unacceptable. These principles are the foundation of a free press and should become a universal standard.
In Hong Kong, old laws that are relics of a colonial past threaten a free press and should be repealed. This is an obligation that the outgoing British administration must undertake promptly. China, for its part, has a responsibility to see that new restrictive laws do not take their place.
We note that the People’s Republic of China made a commitment in the Joint Declaration that “rights and freedoms, including those...of the press...will be ensured” in Hong Kong after 1997. That commitment must be honored.
Moreover, as a member of the United Nations, the People’s Republic is committed to uphold the principles of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in which Article 19 states:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
A free press in Hong Kong will benefit everyone. A shackled press would not only be a blow to its international reputation, undermining the trust of trading partners, but it would pose very practical danger for Hong Kong’s economic future.