The United States condemned the raid on Stand News and called on the Chinese regime to stop attacks

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source: aljazeera.com

The United States condemned the raid on Stand News and called on the Chinese regime to stop attacks on independent media.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged the Beijing authorities to release the detained reporters and executives immediately. "Journalism is not sedition," he said.

On Wednesday, the United States criticized the raid against the Hong Kong digital media Stand News, which resulted in the arrest of at least seven executives and former executives, and called on the authorities of China and Hong Kong "to stop attacking the free and independent media. independent".

In a statement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the police raid and arrests forced "another of the few remaining bastions of free and independent media in Hong Kong to cease operations. "

Hours after the arrests, Stand News announced in a statement posted on its official Facebook page the "immediate cessation of operations," the resignation of its hitherto acting director -also arrested on the day- and the dismissal of all its employees. Workers.

The more than 200 agents who participated in the operation seized several computers and some 500,000 Hong Kong dollars (64,000 US dollars) in cash using a court order issued under the controversial National Security Law that Beijing imposed in mid-2020 and that allows the interception of journalistic material.

Assets worth 61 million Hong Kong dollars ($ 7.8 million) were also frozen.

The raid against Stand News, akin to the pro-democracy opposition, was similar to the one carried out last summer against Apple Daily, which also closed its operations.

"Journalism is not sedition," said Blinken, who asked the authorities to release "immediately" journalists and executives who have been detained and "unjustly" accused.

The head of US diplomacy indicated that freedom of expression and access to information "is essential for prosperous and safe societies" and considered that a government that is not afraid of the truth "welcomes a free press."

Blinken pointed out that "by silencing the independent media, the People's Republic of China and local authorities undermine Hong Kong's credibility and viability. "

The raid against Stand News, akin to the pro-democracy opposition, was similar to the one carried out last summer against Apple Daily, which also closed its operations.