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.”
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.