Chinese-Canadian journalists and Unifor condemn violence against Hong Kong press freedom advocates


Staff at Ming Pao Daily Toronto and their union, Unifor, are horrified by the savage daylight stabbing of a respected Hong Kong journalist, seen by many as a leading advocate of press freedom and democracy.

 "Attacks on members of the press in Hong Kong have been increasing," said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. "The violence has to stop."

"We join a shocked and outraged global community in condemning the violence against Hong Kong journalists who believe in freedom of the press and its importance to democracy, and urge Hong Kong authorities to relentlessly pursue the perpetrators of these crimes," Dias said.

Kevin Lau, former chief editor of Ming Pao Daily Hong Kong was attacked by cleaver-wielding assailants in broad daylight in Hong Kong on Tuesday morning. According to Hong Kong media, Lau's cleaver wounds were so deep his chest cavity and internal organs were left exposed.

Last month, Lau was unexpectedly removed from his top job at the newspaper and replaced by a Malaysian journalist considered by many to be more pro-Beijing. The dismissal touched off local press freedom protests and led to Ming Pao Hong Kong staffers forming a union.

"We are horrified by this brutal attack that has left Mr. Lau fighting for his life," said Joseph Man Ho Kwok, chair of unionized workers at Ming Pao Toronto, one of Canada's largest Chinese-language daily newspapers.

"As Chinese-Canadian media workers, we understand the importance of a free and independent press. Such a brutal attack on our respected colleague is an attack on us all."

Ming Pao Daily Toronto is one of 34 newspaper and other media outlets in Unifor Local 87-M (Southern Ontario Newsmedia Guild), which includes Sing Tao Daily, the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Sun.

Unifor is Canada's largest private-sector union with over 300,000 members, including 13,000 in newspapers, broadcasting and printing.