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The Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA) met with Hong Kong’s Chief Secretary for Administration, Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, this afternoon to discuss the government’s extradition bill which, if passed, would allow people accused of crimes to be sent from the city for trial in mainland China, Taiwan and other parts of the world.
During a frank and constructive exchange, SOPA representatives raised their concerns about the bill, especially its potential impact on journalists and publishers. They urged the government to withdraw the bill, allowing time for a full public consultation. This was all the more important in the light of recent mass protests and clashes between demonstrators and the police, SOPA’s representatives said.
Mr Cheung clarified the government’s position. He said there was no secret motive behind the introduction of the bill. The Chief Secretary stated that the government always has Hong Kong’s best interests at heart and urged the community to engage in rational discussion of the extradition issue.
SOPA also expressed their concern about various journalists being injured or threatened by the Police in recent protests, and urged the government to take all measures to protect journalists when they are doing their jobs. SOPA will continue to monitor events relating to the extradition bill carefully.