Black sheep who tarnish press freedom arrested

The latest numbers show that schools are losing more students (and teachers). Chief Executive Carrie Lam said a couple of months ago that…

“We need to show citizens, whether those who have already left or are planning to emigrate, to see what Hong Kong’s prospects will be.”

Which brings us to the raid on and closure of Stand News and arrests of people associated with the outlet (video here). 

HKFP quotes Steve Li, a senior officer in the NatSec Police, as saying the suspected crimes involve things like: overseas activists/correspondents conspiring to incite hatred towards the government; news reports containing subjective reporting using interviewees’ quotes to show sympathy; and funding of a London office for which the organization appeared to have no legitimate purpose.

The detained former directors of Stand include some prominent and highly respected figures. Margaret Ng is a former lawmaker and exceptionally sharp lawyer. Denise Ho is a famous singer with fans around the globe. Christine Fang is a well-connected social-welfare lobbyist (a relation of Dame Conscience and for years on good terms with top officials and businessmen). The timing of this raid in the midst of holidays suggests an attempt to avoid overseas attention, though even Variety takes notice.

Beijing’s line is that  ‘black sheep who endanger national security and undermine the rule of law and public order under the cover of journalism are tarnishing press freedom’. 

Ultimately, this is about criminalizing opinions.

Xinqi Su on the arrests in the context of (among other things) the Court of Final Appeal’s okaying of applying NatSec Law procedures – like denial of bail – in non NatSec Law cases (see also Senia Ng). And Samuel Bickett

Police are nurturing a climate of fear—not of law, courts or the “system”, but of the HK Police themselves. If they made arrests only to have the arrestees bailed pending trial, it would signal that law & courts can still check HK police power. Police think they’d look weak.

The minority of NSL defs who do get bail infuriates the police. A police state cannot tolerate a court system that treats defendants as innocent until proven guilty. Hence they waited until today to maximize chance of imprisonment w/o trial.

Bickett expands on this in a longer article, predicting that all independent media will ‘retreat’ or simply shut down soon. The international press and academics will presumably not be spared.

Meanwhile, the authorities are preparing to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the handover.

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13 Responses to Black sheep who tarnish press freedom arrested

  1. pd says:

    Now there’s just Hemlock and HKFP (plus hk01) left. I’d recommend taking at least basic precautions: sending most money abroad and finding a replacement with a mirror website, just in case…

  2. Ho Ma Fan says:

    Well I must say that I’m really looking forward to seeing the Grand Parade by disciplined services and youth groups next year. There simply aren’t enough goose-stepping Girl Guides in the world.

  3. donkey says:

    ““We need to show citizens, whether those who have already left or are planning to emigrate, to see what Hong Kong’s prospects will be.””

    Missed an excellent opportunity, Hemlock, to point out that her English is horrendous here. What is she saying?

    She’s interrupted her own logic and doesn’t fill it in with a direct object. Show them… what? Isn’t this also a split modifier?

    You don’t show people to see things. You show people things, and those people see.

    This is what happens when local teachers and even those in the tier 1 schools have no clue how to teach english, but rely on a program and template of correct answers that are unfortunately often incorrect.

  4. Chinese Netizen says:

    Two HUNDRED “NatSec” police raid the outlet. Wonder if any of the popos on that detail realized they were getting paid to be removalists instead of one of the cool guys with a Harry Potter class name like “Raptor” or “Vengeful Feral Pig”??

  5. Load Toad says:

    Hong Kong will be (is?) as important to the World as Nicolae Ceaușescu’s Romania. And consequently of no importance to China either. Brilliant

    I’ll go out on a limb here and predict 2022 sees China falling under a mountain of debt; there will either be a war to save face (like the military junta in Argentina in ’82) or the CCP will isolate China totally and revert back to the era of the Great Leap into famine.

  6. Chinese Netizen says:

    Covid will definitely be the CCP’s saviour to make the country more hermit kingdom-like and solidifying Shit Jumping’s ascension to deity pay grade. All he needs is a trademark hairdo now.

  7. where's my jet plane says:

    I must say I found the 25th anniversary press release a laugh a minute. So much excitement is promised I can’t wait for the farrago to begin…or maybe not.

  8. Guest says:

    @pd: if the internet is censored in Hong Kong, that’s it for the city.

  9. Goatboy says:

    Can’t fucking wait: Symposium on the 3rd Anniversary of the Promulgation of the Outline Development Plan for the Greater Bay Area

  10. Red Dragon says:


    Those SAR Silver Jubilee celebrations sound FUN!

    I do hope that Hong Kong’s pesky quarantine regulations don’t get in the way of the huge numbers of international visitors who are, without a doubt, beside themselves at the prospect of joining in the festivities.

    I wonder if the government can offer some kind of reassurance so as to allay any fears which Hong Kong’s many international fans might have on that score.

  11. Mjrelje says:

    I used to think that the Covid restrictions were primarily political / anti-protest gathering until I saw that Dodgem Cars at the AIA ‘big’ Wheel are not allowed to bump. I think people here are just shit scared of anything (running with hands over head if one spot of rain falls etc). Omicron has given what everyone most wants — total panic for no reason.

  12. asiaseen says:

    Social distancing Dodgem Cars – what a brilliant idea!

  13. Chinese Netizen says:

    Red Dragon said: “I wonder if the government can offer some kind of reassurance so as to allay any fears which Hong Kong’s many international fans might have on that score.”

    International fans may also be dissuaded from taking part in the festivities knowing in the back of their minds they might be arrested for impure thoughts, approving of the wrong piece of art or buying noodles from a non “blue” shop.

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