A Hong Kong police raid on a pro-democracy media organisation and the arrest of seven folks related with it was aimed toward seditious exercise not the suppression of the media, town authorities’s chief mentioned on Thursday.
About 200 police raided the Stand Information workplace on Wednesday, froze its belongings and arrested the seven present and former senior editors and former board members, for “conspiracy to publish seditious publications”.
They have been in police detention some 30 hours after their arrest, awaiting formal expenses or launch. Below Hong Kong legislation, police can detain suspects for a most of 48 hours.
Hong Kong police raid pro-democracy media outlet, arrest 6 for sedition
The raid was the most recent crackdown on the media and on dissent generally within the former British colony since China imposed a tricky nationwide safety legislation within the metropolis final yr aimed toward placing an finish to months of pro-democracy protests.
“These actions don’t have anything to do with so-called suppression of press freedom,” Hong Kong chief Carrie Lam advised reporters.
“Journalism will not be seditious … however seditious actions couldn’t be condoned below the guise of stories reporting.”
Arrange in 2014 as a non-profit organisation, Stand Information was probably the most distinguished remaining pro-democracy publication in Hong Kong after a nationwide safety investigation this yr led to the closure of jailed tycoon Jimmy Lai’s Apple Day by day tabloid.
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Stand Information, a web-based publication, shut down hours after the raid and all of its workers have been dismissed.
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The Stand Information web site was not accessible on Thursday. Its London bureau chief, Yeung Tin Shui, mentioned on Fb his workplace had additionally closed.
The seven arrested included 4 former members of the Stand Information board – former democratic legislator Margaret Ng, pop singer Denise Ho, Chow Tat-chi and Christine Fang – in addition to former chief editor Chung Pui-kuen and performing chief editor Patrick Lam. Chung’s spouse, Chan Pui-man, previously with Apple Day by day, was re-arrested in jail.
Media advocacy teams, some Western governments, together with Canada and Germany, and the U.N. Human Rights Workplace condemned the raid and arrests as an indication of abrasion of press freedom within the international monetary hub.
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Hong Kong returned to Chinese language rule in 1997 with the promise that wide-ranging particular person rights, together with a free press, could be protected.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken referred to as on Chinese language and Hong Kong authorities to right away launch these arrested.
Lam, referring to Blinken’s name, mentioned that will be towards the rule of legislation.
The Chinese language international ministry’s Hong Kong workplace mentioned assist for press freedom was getting used as an excuse to disrupt stability within the metropolis.
“Those that have interaction in actions that endanger nationwide safety and undermine the rule of legislation and public order below the duvet of journalism are the black sheep tarnishing the press freedom and might be held accountable,” it mentioned in a press release.
(Writing by Marius Zaharia; Enhancing by Christian Schmollinger, Robert Birsel)