Local media reported that these are journalists and “high-ranking employees” of the news site Stand News. This website is a “popular outlet among Hong Kong’s opposition activists,” Chinese newspapers wrote. Stand News announced today that it will immediately cease all activities and lay off employees. Readers are thanked for their support.
Three men and three women
Three men and three women were arrested. One of them is Dennis Ho, a former board member of the newspaper and a well-known singer. She is known for her support of the democratic movement in the city.
Hong Kong police said more than 200 police officers were said to have been deployed to arrest the journalists. It happened early in the morning.
In addition to the arrests, Ronson Chan, a journalist and president of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, was temporarily “carried away” by the police only to be released the same morning. His home was also searched.
Police were given a search warrant to seize “relevant press materials” under the National Security Act, a controversial law that Beijing imposed on Hong Kong more than a year ago. Reporters’ homes are said to have already been searched.
Hong Kong’s security law targets the pro-democracy opposition. The law allows the Chinese government to arrest and prosecute people in Hong Kong.
More than 100 activists have already been arrested under the law, and dozens remain in prison.
Newspapers are in trouble
The actions against Stand News come just months after the opposition newspaper, Apple Daily, was forced to close by the authorities. Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai was jailed shortly after for violating national security law. On Tuesday, he was also charged with “rebellious publications”.
China’s state media has been pushing for action against newspapers for some time, deeming Stand News and Apple Daily as ‘bad apples’ in the public domain. According to the Global Times, Hong Kong’s national opinion-forming tabloid should be subject to “strict censorship”. With the disappearance of Stand News and Apple Daily, that is much easier on the authorities.
Attack on freedom of the press
“The arrests are another attack on press freedom in Hong Kong,” said China correspondent Roland Smead. “There is little left of that after the introduction of the National Security Act. The media will have to censor themselves, or else they will face a fate similar to that of Apple Daily and Stand News. It was no surprise that the latter got into trouble, given the website’s pro-democracy stance. Hong Kong has always been a stronghold of freedom of expression on Chinese soil. But that is really over now.”
Zombie specialist. Friendly twitter guru. Internet buff. Organizer. Coffee trailblazer. Lifelong problem solver. Certified travel enthusiast. Alcohol geek.