News / Asia

Attack on Hong Kong Editor Sparks Outrage

The car of former Ming Pao chief editor Kevin Lau is surrounded by a cordon line after he was attacked in Hong Kong, Feb. 26, 2014.
The car of former Ming Pao chief editor Kevin Lau is surrounded by a cordon line after he was attacked in Hong Kong, Feb. 26, 2014.
VOA News
A former newspaper editor in Hong Kong, whose recent removal prompted anti-Beijing protests, is recovering after being stabbed by unknown attackers.

Hong Kong police say Kevin Lau was walking to his car early Wednesday when he was attacked by assailants who escaped on a motorcycle.

Shirley Yam, the vice chairperson of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, tells VOA that Lau has gone through surgery and is no longer considered in critical condition. She also strongly condemned the attack and urged authorities to bring the assailants to justice.

"We were certainly very angry about what has happened. And we call on the police to do their best in finding out who the attacker is. We see this kind of violence as intimidation of press freedom in Hong Kong. That is, to scare journalists away from doing their job," she said.

Hong Kong officials have also expressed anger at the attack, including the territory's chief secretary, Carrie Lam.

"I feel shocked and sad. Hong Kong is a society ruled by law. Such violent behavior cannot be tolerated. This should be condemned by the whole of society," said Lam.

Lau was fired last month as the editor of the Ming Pao newspaper, which is known for its investigative journalism and hard-hitting coverage of Chinese politics. He was replaced by a man seen by many as a pro-Beijing editor.

The removal, along with several similar cases, have raised fresh concerns over deteriorating press freedom and mainland China's rising influence in the semi-autonomous territory.

In recent weeks, thousands have turned out at protests outside the office of the mainland-friendly Hong Kong Chief Executive C.Y. Leung, urging him keep his promises to uphold freedom of the press.

Journalists say they are increasingly pressured, often directly by Hong Kong officials, to write only positive articles about the Chinese Communist Party. They say those who comply are rewarded, and those who do not, are often fired.

The former British colony, which was returned to China in 1997, has enjoyed a high degree of autonomy and its citizens are still able to exercise political rights not allowed on the mainland.

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