Pro-democracy website Stand News has been forcibly shut down by Hong Kong police as Beijing continues its authoritarian crackdown on the once-free, former British Crown colony.
According to local authorities, 200 agents raided Stand News’ offices, which seems a bit extreme to subdue some writers and office workers. Three men and four women, between the ages of 34 an 73, were also taken into custody and placed in the tender mercies of a Hong Kong jail.
They were taken away for suspected “seditious publications” offenses.
Earlier this month, Hong Kong rallied 10,000 police officers to “protect” citizens voting in the city’s first legislative election under the revamped system designed to please the CCP in Beijing:
Hong Kong later amended its laws in May, reducing the number of directly elected lawmakers to 20 from 35, even as the legislature was expanded from 70 to 90 seats. Most of the lawmakers in the legislature would be appointed by largely pro-Beijing bodies.
Like today’s action, summoning 10,000 police was more of a show of force than it was any kind of protection or justice.
Police did not identify them, but media said four former members of the Stand News board had been arrested — former democratic legislator Margaret Ng, pop singer Denise Ho, Chow Tat-chi and Christine Fang — as well as former chief editor Chung Pui-kuen and acting chief editor Patrick Lam.
Chung’s wife, Chan Pui-man, formerly with Apple Daily, was re-arrested in prison, media said.
I’m assuming that “re-arrested in prison” means that Pui-man is facing tough questioning from the police, and could face even more charges.
Pro-democracy Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily was shut down in a similar fashion earlier this year.
That paper’s founder and publisher, 74-year-old Jimmy Lai, was arrested in 2020 under the authoritarian “national security law” imposed on Hong Kong by Beijing in 2019. That action was in defiance of mainland China’s handover agreement with Great Britain to leave Hong Kong alone politically for 50 years.
Stand News was, as The Guardian put it, “the most prominent pro-democracy media outlet still operating in Hong Kong.”
Apple Daily‘s publisher had his assets seized by the Communist regime, and will spend nearly two years in prison for such heinous acts as holding a candlelight vigil for the unknown thousands murdered in Beijing’s 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.
Again, I’m making an assumption here, but it’s almost certain that top-level people from Stand News face similar fates.
Message sent: Stand out, get slapped down by Communist Chinese strongman Xi Jinping.