On Wednesday, more than 200 police officers searched the editorial office of “Stand News” and arrested six people. In a statement, police said they had been given permission to “search and seize relevant press materials”.
The Committee to Protect Journalists says the newspaper’s crackdown is an “open attack on Hong Kong’s already stifled press freedom”.
The newspaper’s current editor-in-chief and former editor-in-chief are said to be among those arrested, according to reports BBC.
In a statement after the police operation, the online newspaper said it would close all operations. Editor-in-chief Patrick Lamm has left his position and two other employees have been laid off, Stand News wrote on Facebook. The site and its social media will not be updated and removed soon, it continues.
The attack occurred the day after former media mogul Jimmy Lai was accused of incitement. His Apple Daily was forced to close last summer, after authorities froze the newspaper’s assets.
Hong Kong has previously enjoyed a relatively large press freedom since the handover of power from the United Kingdom in 1997. But last year’s controversial and critical security law has meant press freedom has been severely restricted in Hong Kong, and many observers have viewed the law as a nail in the coffin of freedom expression.
Facts: China’s Security Law for Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s National Security Law was adopted by the Chinese People’s Assembly on June 30, 2020 and is said to be intended to “protect the country’s security”.
The law lists four categories of crimes: secession, subversion, terrorism, and isolation from foreign powers or foreign elements that could seriously threaten national security.
The law has been condemned by a number of countries as well as the European Union and experts believe that in practice it abolishes the “one country, two systems” principle, which would apply according to the agreement when Britain transferred Hong Kong to China until 2047. According to the agreement, Hong Kong has its own laws.
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