Politicians call for lifting of ban on Apple Daily

TWO leaders of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong yesterday called for an end to the ban on Apple Daily reporters covering the Preliminary Working Committee plenum in Beijing.

The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office refused on Wednesday to accredit journalists working for the newly-launched newspaper, which is owned by Giordano clothing and Next Magazine tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, who has been strongly critical of the Beijing regime.

The two PWC members, alliance chairman Tsang Yok-sing and vice-chairman Tam Yiu-chung, wrote to the Chinese Vice-Premier Qian Qichen shortly after the plenum's opening ceremony. The pair expressed concern over the controversy and said the PWC would benefit from wider media coverage.

'It makes no difference whether 20 or 21 newspapers are covering the meeting,' Mr Tam said.

He had tried to seek more details from officials but none were forthcoming.

As soon as he heard questions about the Apple Daily, Xinhua (the New China News Agency) director Zhou Nan said: 'I have nothing more to add.' The Hong Kong Journalists' Association urged the Chinese Government to lift the ban.