Authorities have filed charges against two former principals following the raids and arrests of anti-government media outlet “Stand News” in Hong Kong. According to court documents, this is Patrick Lam, editor-in-chief of “Stand News” and his predecessor Chung Pui-quen and Best Pencil Ltd., the parent company of the website. Two journalists have been charged with plotting and rioting, the National Security Police in the Chinese Special Administrative Region said Thursday. About 200 police officers raided the news website “Stand News” on Wednesday and arrested seven people. These include current and former senior teachers and former board members. Hong Kong Prime Minister Gary Lam said on Thursday that the move had nothing to do with the suppression of press freedom. “The press is not treason … but treason cannot be tolerated in the guise of news.”
The United States has demanded the immediate release of those arrested. “We urge the authorities of the People’s Republic of China and Hong Kong to immediately stop harassing the free and independent media in Hong Kong and to immediately release journalists and staff who have been unjustly arrested and charged,” said US Secretary of State Blingen. “By silencing the independent media, China and local authorities are undermining Hong Kong’s credibility and performance.”
Rights and freedoms are disappearing
The media portal announced its end after the test and stopped operations. Founded in 2014 as a non-profit organization, Stand News became the last major media outlet to join the Democratic Movement in Hong Kong, the tabloid Apple Daily was shut down and publisher Jimmy Loy was jailed.
The repression of “Stand News” raises concerns about the declining rights and freedoms in China’s special administrative territory in the wake of the controversial Beijing-led Security Act of 2020. The law is seen as the biggest break in the autonomy of the former British Crown Colony, which was promised at least 50 years when it was handed over to China in 1997 on the principle of “one country – two organizations”. Western nations accuse China of undermining civil liberties in Hong Kong and seeking to silence the democratic movement. (Reuters)
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