The US calls on Hong Kong to immediately release the six (former) detained journalists. in a Twitter message US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said he was “deeply concerned” about the arrests. “A government that is not afraid of the truth embraces a free press,” Blinken said. He wants local authorities to stop restricting the independent press, and calls for the release of “unjustly detained” journalists.
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During the arrest, a delegation of two hundred officers raided the news site’s headquarters on Wednesday morning. The police arrested six (former) journalists. They are linked to the Stand News website. Moments later, the company fired all employees and the site crashed. All social media accounts have also been closed. Stand News previously had 1.7 million followers and was thus an important advocate of the pro-democracy voice in Hong Kong, which has a population of 7 million.
The police had arrested the six for publishing “incendiary” articles. Two of them have since been charged. According to international news agencies, it is about Acting Editor-in-Chief Patrick Lam and his predecessor Chun Boy Quinn. Police also raided the home of Ronson Chan, an influential figure in the Hong Kong Journalists’ Syndicate, which has hundreds of members. The officers searched his house.
Freedom of the press and freedom of expression have been under attack in Hong Kong for some time. For example, many pro-democracy supporters from the pro-democracy camp have been arrested, including influential media tycoon Jimmy Lai. He owned the newspaper Apple Daily And a fierce opponent of Chinese influence in Hong Kong. Lai criticized the controversial national security law passed in Hong Kong last summer.
The law limits Hong Kong’s autonomy and enhances Chinese influence. Opponents of this rallied en masse last year to demonstrate against China’s expansion of power.
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