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Reporters Without Borders in Taiwan calls on China to release dissidents

Hong Kong book publisher Gui Min-hai and radio host Edmund Wan Yiu-sing have allegedly been jailed for being 'press freedom defenders'

Radio host Edmund Wan Yiu-sing is led away by police. (RSF, Hong Kong Free Press photo)

Radio host Edmund Wan Yiu-sing is led away by police. (RSF, Hong Kong Free Press photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has urged China to release two “dissidents” based in Hong Kong.

In a statement Sunday (Oct. 16) the media freedom group that is part-based in Taipei, called on China to release the China-born Swedish book publisher Gui Min-hai (桂民海).

He was sentenced to 10 years in jail for supposedly “providing intelligence overseas.” The Hong Kong publisher was allegedly kidnapped by Chinese agents when holidaying in Thailand, in 2015.

He was later shown in a video admitting to espionage — though RSF believes this was a forced confession.

Meanwhile, RSF has called for the release of Hong Kong radio host Edmund Wan Yiu-sing. The 54-year-old radio host also known as “Giggs” was jailed for two years and eight months for sedition and money laundering. He pleaded guilty and was ordered to hand over HK$4.9 million (NT$20 million).

Wan had called for Hong Kongers to “resist or overthrow the Chinese Communist Party” and promoted Taiwan’s “self-determination.” He also asked for donations to support Hong Kong protesters who found refuge in Taiwan.

RSF said: “Over the past two years, the Hong Kong government has been leading an unprecedented campaign against press freedom that included the forced shutdown of independent media outlets Apple Daily and Stand News and the prosecution of at least 22 journalists and press freedom defenders, 13 of whom are currently detained.”

It added: “Hong Kong, once a bastion of press freedom, has plummeted from 80th place in 2021 to 148th place in the 2022 RSF World Press Freedom Index, marking the index’s sharpest drop of the year. China itself ranks 175th of the 180 countries and territories evaluated.”

RSF is an international non-profit founded in 1985 and was set up to defend “access to free and reliable information.” Its headquarters is in Paris, and it has one of seven international offices in Taipei.