Flashback: New York Times Published CCP Propaganda Supporting Law Used To Crackdown On Pro-Democracy Leaders In Hong Kong

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Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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  • The New York Times published an op-ed in October from a Hong Kong official who praised a pro-Beijing law used to target pro-democracy activists in a sweeping crackdown on Tuesday. 
  • The newspaper published the op-ed from Regina Ip, a member of Hong Kong’s executive council. 
  • Ip defended a national security law supported by mainland China and asserted that protesters would “cause great harm” to Hong Kong. 
  • On Tuesday, authorities in Hong Kong enforced the law in a roundup of dozens of leaders of the democracy movement, including an American lawyer. 
  • The Times has not responded to requests for comment about its publication of CCP propaganda. 

In October, The New York Times published an op-ed from an official in Hong Kong who praised the passage of a national security law that has now been used to detain dozens of pro-democracy activists in the city, including an American lawyer.

The official, Regina Ip, hailed a passage of the law in an Oct. 1 op-ed, asserting that it would ensure that “Hong Kong does not become a danger to China.”

Ip, a member of Hong Kong’s executive council, asserted that pro-democracy forces in Hong Kong had done “great harm to the city” during protests that began in June 2019. She accused the activists, who opposed an extradition agreement between Hong Kong and mainland China, of “stirring up chaos and disaffection toward our motherland.”

“Something had to be done, and the Chinese authorities did it,” Ip wrote.

“The scale and frequency of antigovernment protests has now subsided — thanks to a national security law for Hong Kong promulgated in Beijing on June 30.” (RELATED: New York Times Publishes Pro-Beijing Official’s Op-Ed Praising Crackdown On Hong Kong Protesters)

The same law was enforced on Tuesday as part of a sweeping crackdown of leaders in Hong Kong’s robust democracy movement.

Police in Hong Kong arrested around 50 former lawmakers and activists, including John Clancey, a prominent human rights lawyer who has practiced in Hong Kong since the 1990s.

The pro-democracy leaders are reportedly accused of violating the national security law touted by Ip by attempting to hold primary election last year for position on the Hong Kong legislature.

The Times published a story on the arrests on Tuesday, saying it “underscored government officials’ efforts to weaken any meaningful opposition in the city’s political institutions.”

Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong speaks to members of media as he holds a bail document after leaving Central police station on Sept. 24 in Hong Kong. (Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong speaks to members of media as he holds a bail document after leaving Central police station on Sept. 24 in Hong Kong. (Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

The Times came under criticism back in October from journalists who saw Ip’s op-ed as Chinese Communist Party propaganda.

The paper was well aware of Ip’s coziness with the mainland communist regime when the piece was published.

On July 17, 2003, the paper reported that Ip was forced to resign as Hong Kong’s secretary of security over her support for a bill that would have allowed authorities to conduct warrantless raids during emergencies “and would have authorized the shuttering of news organizations deemed seditious.” (RELATED: Chinese Propaganda Outlet Has Paid US Newspapers $19 Million)

The report also referred to Ip as “Beijing’s enforcer” and said that she had “particularly close ties to top Communist officials.

Ip is also the founder of the New People’s Party, which supports pro-Beijing policies.

The Times op-ed prompted a letter to the editor from five members of the British parliament, who said that Ip’s piece ignored “the brutal reality of what is happening in Hong Kong.”

“The inconvenient truth for Ms. Ip, a member of the Hong Kong Executive Council, is that Hong Kong is a legally autonomous region within which human rights abuses are rife,” wrote the members of parliament, who are members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hong Kong.

Critics of the Times noted the disparity in how executives at the paper handled the Ip piece versus an op-ed from Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton on June 3.

In that op-ed, Cotton called on President Trump to deploy the U.S. military to “restore order” following riots in U.S. cities over the death of George Floyd. Cotton said that he supported peaceful protests, but called on the military to be used to quash the violence that popped up on the sidelines of some of the protests.

The piece generated an internal uprising at the Times, which led the paper to attach a lengthy editor’s note to Cotton’s article. Opinion page editor James Bennet was also forced to resign.

The Times did not respond to a request for comment for this article.

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