THE South China Morning Post will continue to enjoy full editorial independence, the annual general meeting of shareholders was told yesterday. The chairman of South China Morning Post (Holdings) Ltd, Robert Kuok, told shareholders he fully supported the concept of freedom of the press. 'There is currently much talk about press freedom and so-called self-censorship,' Mr Kuok said. 'I believe in freedom of the press and firmly respect the editorial independence of our newspaper.' He said that policy had remained in force despite the change in ownership. Mr Kuok bought almost 35 per cent of South China Morning Post (Holdings) in September last year for $350 million, taking over as majority shareholder from the previous owner, Rupert Murdoch. 'Our newspaper has upheld these principles - despite unwarranted suggestions to the contrary expressed by some,' he said. Mr Kuok acknowledged the growing importance of China and said the Post would be at the forefront of the handover. 'The most important story unfolding today is China and for us in Hong Kong our reunion with China in July 1997,' he said. 'The South China Morning Post is ideally placed to record these momentous changes and I trust we shall continue to report factually and responsibly on what is happening both here in Hong Kong and in China.' He said the Post would not become a mouthpiece for any religious, political or commercial group. 'My overriding conviction is that the Hong Kong press and media must work for the good of Hong Kong, portraying the different views of the territory fairly and even-handedly,' he said.