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Several Republican political leaders spoke out against the Hong Kong police for arresting seven current and former employees of one of the last pro-democracy newspapers in the city and raiding their headquarters.
High-profile Republican leaders torched the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for the arrests and raid, which was conducted on Wednesday under the communist party’s 2020 National Security Law.
Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas said in a Wednesday email to Fox News Digital that Hong Kong police’s actions reflected the communist party’s fear of the free press.
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 27, 2021. (Tasos Katopodis/Pool via REUTERS)
“What the Chinese Communist Party fears most is the world knowing the truth about its crimes,” Cotton wrote. “This Orwellian crackdown on non-party sanctioned outlets shows just how fearful they really are.”
“The CCP’s continued assault on Hong Kong’s liberty is reprehensible,” Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., told Fox News Digital. “The free press has played a critical role in Hong Kong’s continued fight for freedom and these arrests are a shameful reminder of Beijing’s quest for power. I will continue to fight to hold the CCP accountable.”
Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, March 2, 2021. In his first public testimony since President Biden took office, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray will tell senators that violent extremists motivated by racial and anti-government ideology have emerged as the biggest domestic terrorism threat. Photographer: Graeme Jennings/Washington Examiner/Bloomberg via Getty Images (Graeme Jennings/Washington Examiner/Bloomberg)
Stand News started in 2014 as a nonprofit organization and cut its teeth covering the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests in 2019.
The seven individuals taken into custody Wednesday were arrested on suspicion of conspiring to publish “seditious materials” and encouraging hatred toward the government, according to police. The authorities also froze a total of HK$61 million in assets.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., spoke out on the Hong Kong government’s suppression of free speech, saying in a Wednesday email that “Communist China will arrest, harass and threaten anyone who dares to speak the truth.”
“We must stand with democracy, Hong-Kong, and those in the fight to preserve freedoms from the Chinese Communist Party,” Blackburn continued.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Sept. 30, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Stefani Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)
Former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley declared the arrests and raid to be another reason to hold China accountable.
“China created a Communist surveillance state, is committing genocide against the Uyghurs, and unleashed COVID on the world,” Haley said in a Wednesday statement to Fox News. “This crackdown on democracy in Hong Kong is another reason we must never stop calling them out and holding their feet to the fire.”
Nikki Haley, the former Governor of South Carolina and Ambassador to the UN, stumps for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin (R-VA), during a campaign event in McLean, Virginia, July 14, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein (REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein)
The outlet announced it would cease operations after the raid.
“Stand News’s editorial policy was to be independent and committed to safeguarding Hong Kong’s core values of democracy, human rights, freedom, the rule of law and justice,” Stand News said in an announcement, as reported by the Hong Kong Free Press. “Thank you, readers, for your continued support.”
The Chinese Communist Party enacted a National Security Law in June 2020 intended to suppress pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
Since the law’s implementation, Hong Kong officials have taken to cracking down on organizations they consider threatening to the government.
Authorities used the law to arrest five editors from Apple Daily, an outlet that had long defended democracy in Hong Kong, accusing the outlet of playing a “crucial part” in what they called a conspiracy with foreign countries to impose sanctions against China and Hong Kong. Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai is currently serving a 20-month prison sentence after being convicted of playing a role in the 2019 protests.
Fox News’ Cortney O’Brien contributed reporting.