Global Times reporter Fu Guohao was attacked by rioters at the Hong Kong International Airport on August 13. Photo: AFP
Chinese authorities on Wednesday harshly condemned radical Hong Kong protesters’ “near terrorist” violence against two mainland citizens, saying their actions had gone beyond the bottom line of humanity.
The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of China’s State Council and Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong expressed a strong condemnation against radical Hong Kong protesters’ violence at the airport on Tuesday night, and urged that they be brought to justice.
Violent radicals tied up Global Times reporter Fu Guohao and beat him, claiming they suspected Fu of being a fake reporter, said Xu Luying, a spokesperson for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of China’s State Council.
The Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong also issued a statement on Wednesday saying that the illegal accosting and beating of the journalist is a challenge and insult to international press agencies, and severely tramples on freedom of the press.
The rioters’ violence went beyond the bottom line of civil society and is no different from the savage act of terrorists, the liaison office said.
After being discharged from a hospital, Fu told media Wednesday morning that he felt lucky not to have suffered a fatal injury, and that he still loves Hong Kong.
Fu said he did not disclose his identity on the spot because he wanted to protect himself.
On Tuesday night, the protesters searched Fu’s bag and found a T-shirt with a banner saying, “I love Hong Kong Police,” so they attacked him. Before being attacked, Fu shouted “I support Hong Kong police. You can beat me now.”
The All-China Journalists Association said it deeply respects Fu, who still bravely voiced support for the Hong Kong police when he was personally in danger, and strongly condemned the protesters’ violence on Wednesday on Sina Weibo.
The association said it holds zero-tolerance against violence and the illegal restraining of journalists, which poses a challenge to the press world, and severely tramples on press freedom.
The hashtag “Fu Guohao” has been viewed for more than one billion times on Sina Weibo as of press time, with many netizens sympathizing with him and expressing outrage at the violent mob.
“They said they are fighting for ‘freedom’. But the moment they learned they seized a journalist from the Chinese mainland, they tied and beat him up like a bunch of lunatics. What kind of freedom is this?” Zhao Qian, a Shanghai-based journalist, told the Global Times.
The violence against Fu shows the true face of the Hong Kong mob to the world, Zhao said.
Some foreign media said Fu did not show his press card when he was beaten up. “No one should fall victim to violence regardless of whether he (or she) is a journalist. Violence is violence, there’s no excuse to justify it,” said Mei Xinyu, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce.
Protesters also held and beat a Shenzhen resident surnamed Xu, who had arrived at the Hong Kong airport to pick up friends.
The protesters attempted to prevent access to medical staff, and it took the police four hours to remove Xu from danger, the spokesperson said.
A Hong Kong police officer also fell victim to the protesters, Xu Luying noted.
“We send the strongest condemnation against the ‘near terrorist acts’ of the protesters, and send our condolences to the injured and the Hong Kong police,” said Xu.
She added that radical protesters in Hong Kong have gone beyond the bottom line of law, of ethics and of humanity. “Their actions show extreme defiance of laws, and have severely damaged Hong Kong’s international image and hurt the feelings of people from the Chinese mainland.”
“We firmly support Hong Kong’s police and judicial organs to carry out law enforcement, bring justice, and hold the criminals accountable,” said Xu.
Newspaper headline: HK mob harms press freedom