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Journalist who confronted WHO official over Taiwan quits amid pro-China pressure

Yvonne Tong has been bullied for interview that brought up Taiwan's potential membership in WHO

Yvonne Tong (Screenshot, RTHK video)

Yvonne Tong (Screenshot, RTHK video)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Journalist Yvonne Tong (唐若韞) has reportedly resigned from Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) after pressure from pro-Beijing forces over an interview of hers that brought up Taiwan's potential membership in the WHO.

Tong tendered her resignation earlier this month, allegedly because she had found it impossible to maintain the job due to harassment by pro-China groups, reported CNA. Tweets from her personal account appear to have been removed.

The journalist and TV producer caused a stir last year with her video call with the WHO's senior advisor to the director-general, Bruce Aylward, in which she pressed the health official about Taiwan’s participation in the organization as the coronavirus took hold globally. The interview was intended for the RTHK program "The Pulse."

When Tong asked, “Will the WHO reconsider Taiwan’s membership?” Aylward evaded the question, said he was unable to hear it, and eventually hung up. The incident raised eyebrows in some quarters and was decried by Hong Kong Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau (邱騰華) as “violating the ‘one-China’ principle,” reported Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP).

The incident was followed by complaints to the broadcaster and calls for Tong to be sacked. She has also suffered abuse such as doxing and criticism over a stay at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in February that some claim violated a bribery law, according to the Stand News.

A survey released by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute last week suggests a majority of the Hong Kong public believes the independence of the city’s media has been eroded. Two-thirds believe local media outlets are wary of criticizing the central government, while 53 percent think self-censorship is being practiced.

Updated : 2021-05-11 23:09 GMT+08:00