As Reuters reported, Allan Au, a veteran journalist, was arrested by Hong Kong’s national security authorities on April 11 for alleged sedition.
Au was an academic at the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s journalism department. He was also a former writer for the now-shuttered Stand News, Apple Daily, and Ming Pao.
After a dawn raid, the national security service officers arrested Au under colonial-era sedition law.
Authorities said in a statement, “After in-depth investigation, the National Security Department of the Hong Kong Police Force arrested a 54-year-old man in Kwai Chung today (April 11) for conspiracy to publish seditious publication,” adding, “The arrestee is being detained for further enquiries. Investigation is underway and further arrests may be made.”
He is the second journalist to be detained due to Beijing’s sweeping national security law imposed in June 2020, which critics say severely restricts civil liberties. Notably, that law does not include sedition as an offense.
According to a source who confirmed Au’s arrest, his detention was linked to opinion columns he wrote for Stand News, which recently closed in December.
The Hong Kong Journalists Association expressed “deep concern,” adding that the arrest risked “further damaging Hong Kong’s press freedom.”
When asked if Au’s detention undermined Hong Kong’s press freedom, John Lee, who is running to be the city’s next chief executive, referred to the city’s constitution and answered, “Freedom of the press and speech are sufficiently guaranteed in the Basic Law.”