Arrests rattle Hong Kong as China sets its sights on journos


Arrests rattle Hong Kong as China sets its sights on journos

The city’s press freedom takes another blow as the state steps up its attack

Iain Marlow, Kari Lindberg and Natalie Lung

China has taken another step towards extinguishing any form of dissent in Hong Kong, hailing police in the city for arresting top editors of a pro-democracy newspaper and warning journalists not to write articles that challenge Beijing.

On Thursday morning, roughly 500 police officers descended on the headquarters of the popular Apple Daily newspaper for the second time in 12 months after accusing its leaders of violating a national security law imposed last year. They arrested three top editors and two senior executives of the tabloid owned by Next Digital founder and democracy activist Jimmy Lai, a fierce critic of Beijing who is serving more than year in prison for attending unauthorised protests.

“Freedom of the press is not a ‘shield’ for illegal activities,” the Chinese government’s liaison office said in a statement. “No matter what kind of professional status and background they have, no matter what kind of support they have behind them, anyone who violates the Hong Kong National Security Law and relevant laws will be severely punished by the law.”..

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