Vancouver MP 'heartbroken' by arrest of Hong Kong journalists

·2 min read
Jenny Kwan pictured on July 1, 2021 in front of the China Consulate General in Vancouver at a rally against Hong Kong's national security law.  (Gabriel Yiu - image credit)
Jenny Kwan pictured on July 1, 2021 in front of the China Consulate General in Vancouver at a rally against Hong Kong's national security law. (Gabriel Yiu - image credit)

Vancouver East MP Jenny Kwan condemned the recent arrest of six journalists, including one Canadian, at a Hong Kong pro-democracy news outlet.

Hong Kong national security police raided the office of independent online outlet Stand News Wednesday and arrested six people, including Canadian singer and activist Denise Ho, for "conspiracy to publish seditious publications."

Kwan, who was born and raised in Hong Kong, wrote in a statement that she is heartbroken about the situation, and is asking Canada to work with ally countries to condemn these actions and support the people of Hong Kong.

"It threatens our entire basic right to the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press, something that we so value and cherish in a democratic system," said Kwan in an interview with CBC.

Hong Kong police said in a statement they had a warrant "to search and seize relevant journalistic materials" and that over 200 uniformed and plainclothes officers were deployed during the operation.

Kwan said the implications of these arrests reach across the globe. Anybody in Canada that critiques the Chinese government can also be targeted by these laws if they travel to Hong Kong, she said. Kwan said Canadian expatriates living in Hong Kong are at risk of being targeted.

"No one is safe… I have now come to the realization that I can no longer travel back to Hong Kong, my birthplace. I had hoped that one day I could bring my children back… but that is not a reality for me," said Kwan.

Stand News announced later Wednesday it is shutting down. The outlet said all employees were dismissed and their website and social media will be taken down.

Kwan said Stand News was a popular site that offered a different point of view, and was sometimes critical of the government.

"It's a rallying call for those of us who are in a different country, who are safe and protected by our democratic rights to speak up and to rally in support of the people in Hong Kong," Kwan said.

Hong Kong's last remaining pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily ceased operations in June after five editors and executives were arrested and millions of dollars in its assets were frozen.

Stand News was one of the city's last remaining pro-democracy online news outlets.

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