“We call on the PRC and Hong Kong authorities to stop attacking Hong Kong’s free and independent media and to immediately release journalists and media leaders who have been wrongfully detained and charged,” the US diplomat said Wednesday night.
“By silencing the independent media, the PRC and local authorities are undermining Hong Kong’s credibility,” Blingen stressed.
More than 100 Hong Kong state security police officers stormed the editorial office of the independent news website Stand News on Wednesday. Six former and current employees have been arrested on suspicion of “inflammatory publications”.
The detainees include former and current editor-in-chief of Stand News, Chung Fui-quen and Patrick Lam, as well as four people who served on the portal’s board until November, including singer Denise Ho, known for supporting the democratic movement. And former member of the Hong Kong parliament, lawyer Margaret Ng – Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP).
Over the past two years, the Hong Kong administration, loyal to Beijing, has stepped up its campaign against the democratic movement using PRC-imposed state security regulations. Most influential opposition activists have been imprisoned or convicted of crimes, and the independent media has been targeted by the police security department.
In June, the largest pro-democracy daily “Pinggwo Yatbou” (“Apple Daily”) was forced to shut down after an editorial office raid, journalists were arrested and bank accounts frozen. Its founder, Jimmy Loy, a media tycoon who criticizes officials, has been jailed for protests. He has been charged with a number of offenses under state security regulations.
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