18 Canadian organizations on the blatant attack on press freedom in Hong Kong with the arrests of six journalists and executives of Stand News
In an egregious assault on freedom of speech and human rights, over 200 Hong Kong national security police raided the offices of non-profit online news platform Stand News and the home of Ronson Chan, the Chair of the Hong Kong Journalists Association in the early morning of December 29. Six journalists and executives associated with Stand News were arrested for “conspiracy to publish seditious publications” including Acting Chief Editor Patrick Lam, Deputy Editor Ronson Chan, former Chief Editor Chung Pui-Kuen, former board members Chow Tat-chi, former legislator and lawyer Margaret Ng, Christine Fong, and activist pop singer Denise Ho, a Canadian citizen working in Hong Kong. Within 12 hours of the arrests, Stand News was forced to shut down and its media content was erased.
These arrests came just days after the already imprisoned Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai and other journalists were charged with “conspiracy to “print, publish, sell, offer for sale, distribute, display and/or reproduce seditious publications.” Apple Daily and Next Media were forced to close by the Hong Kong government early this year.
These arrests mark a significant escalation of attacks on what little is left of civil liberties in Hong Kong, even though they are guaranteed by Beijing under Article 27 of Hong Kong’s Basic Law, the city’s constitution since its handover in 1997. Already the white terror in the city has been aggravated following a massive arrest of dissidents from all walks of life under the National Security Law. The rapidly shrinking press freedom shows that the One Country Two Systems framework is dead and Hong Kong has become a police state.
We strongly condemn this application of colonial-era sedition laws to strangle press freedom in Hong Kong. In the absence of a legally permitted opposition, the regime is sending a death threat to the media sector. If the international community remains silent, these attacks will likely be extended to foreign journalists, and all other independent internet and social media platforms in Hong Kong.
An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. We urge our Canadian government, our international allies, and journalists around the world to strongly condemn this latest crackdown on Hong Kong press freedom and work closely together to expedite the release of all arrested journalists in Hong Kong. We also urge our Canadian government to provide consular protection to Denise Ho.
Canada-Hong Kong Link
Vancouver Society in Support of Democratic Movement
Vancouverites Concerned About Hong Kong
Canadians Friends of Hong Kong
Winnipeg Hong Kong Concern
Action Free Hong Kong Montreal
Toronto Association for Democracy in China
Alliance Canada Hong Kong
Vancouver Hong Kong Forum Society
Halifax-Hong Kong Link
Chinese Canadian Concern Group on Chinese Communist Party’s Violations Against Human Rights
Movement for Democracy in China (Calgary)
University of Waterloo Alumni for Hong Kong
The Mustard Seeds Hong Kong Concern Group
Torontonian HongKongers Action Group
Friends of Hong Kong Edmonton / Edmonton Hong Kong Civil Rights United
Victoria BC HongKongers
Saskatchewan Stands with Hong Kong