Britain on Wednesday blasted China for using a new national security law to stifle free speech in Hong Kong after the closure of pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily.

“The forced closure of Apple Daily by the Hong Kong authorities is a chilling blow to freedom of expression in Hong Kong,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement.

See also: Thursday to be final edition of Apple Daily, as board forced to halt all Hong Kong operations

Dominic Raab. Photo: Simon Dawson/No 10 Downing Street, via Flickr.

“It is crystal clear that the powers under the National Security Law are being used as a tool to curtail freedoms and punish dissent — rather than keep public order,” he said, demanding China respect its obligations over Hong Kong’s 1997 handover from UK rule.

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