Pro-Democracy Hong Kong News Site Shut Down

The last prominent pro-democracy news publication in Hong Kong was shut down following police raids and arrests. The vocal website Stand News was the last pro-democracy publication standing until this week, when police conducted a raid on the office, froze the publication’s assets, and arrested senior staff members.

Stand News released a statement saying that it was shutting down and that its website, as well as its social media channels, would be deleted and wiped. All employees have officially been dismissed as well. 

Stand News was the only remaining pro-democracy site featuring critical voices after another popular publication was shut down earlier this year. In April, the paper Apple Daily closed after the police conducted similar tactics against the publication.

Apple Daily’s owner, media tycoon Jimmy Lai, was arrested and sentenced to 14 months in prison at the age of 73. Lai was charged with sedition this week while in jail, adding to his offenses. 

This makes the closure of Stand News the latest crackdown against media freedom and other rights in the Chinese-ruled city. While Chinese authorities had promised that rights would be protected when the city returned to Chinese rule in 1997, crackdowns on dissents and media have sounded human rights alarms worldwide. 

More than 200 police officers participated in this week’s raid and arrests. They produced a warrant to seize media materials under a recent national security law that only came into effect last year.   

The National Security Department has defended its actions amid widespread human rights concerns and calls from activists to free the journalists and to stop the closure of pro-democracy sites.

The senior superintendent of the National Security Department, Li Kwai-wah, said that their department is not targeting the media, they are targeting national security offenses. Experts say that this is a blatant cover up to arrest and silence journalists.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.