The United States has called on Hong Kong to immediately release six (former) journalists arrested. In A message on Twitter US Secretary of State Anthony Blingen has said he is “deeply concerned” about the arrests. “A government that is not afraid of the truth embraces an independent press,” Blingen said. He wants local authorities to stop controlling independent newspapers and calls for the release of “wrongly detained” journalists.
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At the time of the arrest, a team of two hundred officers raided the headquarters of the news website on Wednesday morning. Police arrested six (former) journalists. They were linked to the Stand News website. After a few minutes, the company laid off all employees and the site went offline. All social media accounts were closed. Before that, Stand News had 1.7 million followers, so it was the main expression of the pro-democracy voice in Hong Kong with a population of 7 million.
Police arrested 6 people for publishing articles on fire. Two of them have been charged. According to international news organizations, this is about executive editor Patrick Lam and his predecessor Chun Pui-Queen. Police also raided the home of Ronson Chan, an influential figure in the Hong Kong Journalists’ Union, which has hundreds of members. Authorities raided his home.
Freedom of the press and freedom of expression have been under attack in Hong Kong for some time. For example, several pro-democracy activists from the pro-democracy camp have been detained, including influential media mogul Jimmy Loy. He owned the newspaper Apple Daily And fierce opponent of Chinese influence in Hong Kong. Loy criticized the controversial National Security Act passed in Hong Kong last summer.
The law restricts Hong Kong’s autonomy and strengthens Chinese influence. Opponents rallied in large numbers last year against China’s expansion of power.
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