Blinken speaks out after pro-democracy outlet in Hong Kong closes
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Secretary of State Antony Blinken took to social media to express concern after a pro-democracy Hong Kong outlet was raided and shut down.
“Deeply concerned about the closure of Stand News and the resulting arrests in Hong Kong,” Blinken said on Twitter Wednesday. “A confident government that is not afraid of the truth embraces a free press. We call on the Hong Kong authorities to stop targeting independent media and to release those wrongfully detained.”
HONG KONG POLICE FORCES CLOSURE OF ONE OF THE LATEST PRO-DEMOCRACY NEWS SITES IN THE CITY
Blinken’s comments come after National Security Police raided Stand News, a pro-democracy Hong Kong-based media company, resulting in the arrest of seven people associated with the publication on Wednesday.
Steve Li Kwai-wah, chief superintendent of the Hong Kong Police Department’s National Security Department, said on Wednesday that the publication was closed after “seditious” articles were published over the past year.
The shutdown comes after press freedom was eroded in Hong Kong after China imposed a national security law on the independent country last year, raising concerns over the state of freedom press in the land that was once called “the world city of Asia”.
“The Hong Kong Journalists Association is deeply concerned that the police have repeatedly arrested senior media officials and searched news agency offices containing large amounts of journalistic material in the space of ‘one year, “the Hong Kong Journalists Association said in a statement on Wednesday while imploring the government to” protect press freedom in accordance with the Basic Law. “
But Hong Kong officials have defended the raid as necessary, arguing that some media are “bad apples” that falsely claim to be media.
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“Anyone who attempts to use the work of the media as a tool to pursue their political objective or any other interest is breaking the law, especially offenses that endanger national security,” Hong Kong Chief Secretary said Wednesday, John Lee. “These are the evil elements that undermine press freedom. Media professionals should recognize that it is bad apples who abuse their position simply by wearing a fake media worker coat.”
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