After Hong Kong authorities raided a journalistic outlet and laid charges, Canada was ‘very worried.’
Following a police raid on a non-profit journalism organisation in Hong Kong that resulted in the arrest and detention of seven activists, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly said Canada would stand up for democratic and press freedom.
“We are highly worried by the arrests in Hong Kong of the current and former board and staff members from Stand News, which include Canadian citizen and activist Denise Ho,” Joly said in a Twitter post just after 200 officers raided the Democratic-leaning publication’s office, detained staff, and froze its assets.
In the midst of a national security crackdown on media, two high-ranking editors of Stand News, Hong Kong’s last and most important independent journal, have been formally accused of conspiring to publish seditious materials.
Seven active and retired senior editors and former board members were arrested in the search on Wednesday, including Cantopop star and Canadian citizen Denise Ho. After 36 hours in custody, Ho was freed on bond on Thursday morning. According to a charge sheet, police also stated that the corporation would be prosecuted for sedition.
Irwin Cotler, a former federal justice minister, and human rights lawyer, said that as the ruler of the Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations earlier this year and as one of the foundational countries of the Media Freedom Coalition, Canada has a duty to take a stance.
“What we’re seeing is a frontal attack not only on media freedom, reporter safety, and security, the democracy movement — but on democracy itself in Hong Kong,” Cotler added.
Jenny Kwan, a New Democrat MP for Vancouver-East who was born and raised in Hong Kong, expressed her dismay at the course of events, saying the arrests demonstrate China’s Communist government’s disregard for freedoms and human rights in the territory.
Source: CBC News