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PRESS RELEASE: CFHK Foundation Illuminates Jimmy Lai and Detained Journalists Around the World for Press Freedom Day

3 May 2024 – To mark the 31st anniversary of World Press Freedom Day, the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong (CFHK) Foundation on Thursday staged large-scale wall projections throughout Washington, D.C., and on London’s Tower Bridge to highlight the continued detention of Jimmy Lai, a British citizen and the founder of Apple Daily, in Hong Kong, and journalists throughout the world who are in jail simply because they dared to report the truth.

In Washington, the projections on the Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office (HKETO) called for the closure of the HKETO and the street in front of the office to be renamed “Jimmy Lai Way.” Over the past few years, the Hong Kong government has used its HKETOs across the world to portray a city of beauty and peace, and whitewash human rights abuses. More than 1,800 political prisoners sit behind bars in Hong Kong.

Last month, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Tom Suozzi (D-NY) introduced new legislation, H.R. 8125, to designate the area outside of the HKETO in Washington as "Jimmy Lai Way." Another bill, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office Certification Act (H.R. 1103), seeks to remove the extension of privileges and immunities to the offices, and it was passed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee last December. It is waiting for a full House vote.

The projection in London, U.K., featured jailed journalists throughout the world: Chinese journalists Huang Xueqin and Dong Yuyu, Iranian reporter and 2023 Nobel Prize Laureate Narges Mohammadi, American journalist Evan Gershkovich, Ethiopian reporter Meskerem Abera, and Burundi journalist Sandra Muhoza, as well as Hong Kong's Jimmy Lai.

In addition to these six, hundreds of other journalists remain behind bars. At the end of 2023, Reporters Without Borders counted 547 jailed journalists, 54 held hostage, and 84 missing; 45 journalists were killed in 2023.

In a video the CFHK Foundation highlighted the impact of national security legislation on journalists and the closure of many media outlets in the city.

The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation’s President, Mark Clifford, said:

"Journalism is not a crime. Yet dozens of journalists were killed last year simply for doing their job. As we honor and remember them, we must work for the freedom of almost 700 jailed, missing, and hostage journalists around the world. China is the world’s biggest jailer of journalists, a dubious achievement underscored by the continued illegal detention of Jimmy Li and other journalists in the once-free city of Hong Kong."

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