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.
The intruders caused extensive damage, and the Hong Kong edition of The Epoch Times has been forced to suspend its operations for the foreseeable future.
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.
“It is absolutely terrible because there is a veil of silence that has just been placed over Hong Kong. Finally, when we discuss at the international level with political leaders, everyone says “it’s shameful, it’s scandalous, Hong Kong is finished.” But no, there is still a lot to be done, and above all there is a population to protect, there is a break in international law in the Sino-British agreements that had been signed and ran until 2047, and there was no reason to call [them] into question since no reservation had been made to change the “one country, two systems” status. So we can see that the offensive, violent, and hard normalization continues in Hong Kong, and unfortunately the international community remains extremely silent.”
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.
“This attack must be fully and immediately investigated by the authorities, who must hold those responsible to account. There must be zero tolerance for attacks on journalists and media outlets, and we expect swift action by Hong Kong officials.”
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 suppression of an independent press in China is concerning. Conservatives call on the Trudeau government to stand up and speak out against Beijing’s crackdown in Hong Kong and on a free press.”
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.”
“I will discuss the issue at the next meeting of the CDU/CSU’s Human Rights Working Group and work to ensure that the issue is raised in the Human Rights Committee.”
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.
“These sorts of attacks will only increase as the CCP/PRC becomes more emboldened to extinguish voices of freedom and independent journalism.”
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.
“We bear witness to this state-sanctioned violence. The Epoch Times will not be silenced. #CCP”
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.
“I deplore and condemn any act of sabotage against the media who should be free to report without the fear of violence, suppression or intimidation.”
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.”
“And they show that they don’t respect at all the agreements they passed with the UK … So this is a clear violation of international treaty, a clear violation of our commitment. And I think the people in Europe, in the U.S., in another part of the free world should react very clearly against this unacceptable violation. And I would like to send all my sympathy to the people of Hong Kong and particularly, to the members of Falun Gong and to the democrats in Hong Kong.”
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.
“Freedom of expression, including for members of the press, is critical to transparency.”
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.
“I myself will raise this with our Foreign Minister.”
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.
“The Epoch Times’ printing plant was targeted in a similar attack during the Hong Kong protests in November 2019.”
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.
“My best wishes to you all.”
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.
“Since Biden took office on January 20, we’ve now witnessed over two months of aggressive, belligerent, and tyrannical behavior by China’s Communist Party that seems designed at least partly to test Biden’s resolve. The very day Biden took office, for instance, the CCP imposed sanctions on 28 American officials. They have stepped up repression in Hong Kong, Tibet, and East Turkistan, and increasingly are threatening the sovereignty of Taiwan. Tiger Yang’s 16-minute anti-American diatribe in Anchorage was insulting, and should have been the end of that summit. We should have ended it right there like Reagan ended Reykjavik in 1986. This act of violence against The Epoch Times, a U.S.-based media outlet, needs to be taken immensely seriously by the United States government. It warrants a full investigation by U.S. officials. And we should demand that this violence be condemned by the CCP. Why hasn’t it been already? One reason, of course, is that the CCP almost certainly was behind it. If that’s the case, then there needs to be concrete ramifications from the U.S. China’s acts of repression at home and acts of aggression abroad must result in concrete and immediate ramifications, or they will only escalate. Biden is going to continue to be tested until he demonstrates that he has the resolve necessary to counter CCP aggression, and I suspect they very much doubt his resolve.”
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.
“All this while the CCP’s propaganda freely roams the world, touting the very principle of freedom of speech it denies its citizens and using torture, forced confessions, and intentional lies to spread its political terror around the globe. Faced with the growing irrefutable evidence of law- and information warfare by the CCP, increasingly imposing its repression across borders exactly as Hong Kongers predicted, the democratic world must urgently get its act together and follow in the footsteps of the brave men and women that continue to man the few remaining bastions of free speech in Hong Kong. If they can rise above the fear instilled by the regime’s cold-hearted threats, surely so must we!”
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.
“Clearly, the Chinese Communist Party and its street thugs cannot abide any media outlet reporting the facts about the Party’s depredations.”
Rep. Jim Banks
Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) described the attack as “reprehensible.”
“The freedom of the press in Hong Kong is under attack from the Chinese Communist Party,” Banks said in a statement.
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.
“I’m praying for my fellow freedom-lovers living under the CCP’s repressive regime. May they remain steadfast and courageous in their pursuit of the truth!”
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.
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.”
Eva Fu and Cathy He contributed to this report