Defunct newspaper's senior editor arrested in Hong Kong

Defunct newspaper's senior editor arrested in Hong Kong
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The former senior editor of a newspaper shut down by the government in Hong Kong was among those arrested in recent days amid a crackdown on people and organizations critical of the city's policies, according to a new report. 

Lam Man-chung, who was the executive editor-in-chief of Apple Daily, was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to collude with foreign forces to endanger national security, The Associated Press reported, cited the South China Morning Post. 

A former associate publisher and deputy chief editor at the defunct newspaper were also arrested on Wednesday and had their bail revoked. 

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Hong Kong security minister Chris Tang reportedly defended the decision to arrest the journalists, who had worked for a news outlet that had been critical of the government and its response to widespread pro-democracy protests there in recent years. 

“Whoever committed an offense will be arrested, disregarding their background, whatever they do, or what are their professions,” Tang said, the AP noted. “It doesn’t really matter. If they committed an offense, they will be arrested. And if there is any evidence, they will be prosecuted.”

The Hong Kong Journalists Association expressed outrage at news of the arrests, and said in a statement the detainments amount to a suppression of free speech and abuse of power by the government. 

“Freedom of the press and the freedom to publish are important cornerstones for the success of an international city,” the organization said, according to the AP. 

Chinese authorities raided the offices of the Apple Daily in June, reportedly seizing computer hard drives and other records and freezing $2.3 million worth of assets, forcing the newspaper to shut down operations.

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in the U.S. have criticized the Chinese government for cracking down on protests in the somewhat autonomous territory.

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On Wednesday, Sen. Ben SasseBen SasseSasse calls China's Xi a 'coward' after Apple Daily arrest Defunct newspaper's senior editor arrested in Hong Kong Murkowski: Trump has 'threatened to do a lot' to those who stand up to him MORE (R-Neb.) issued a blistering statement calling out Chinese President Xi Jinping following news of the journalists' arrests.

“Chairman Xi is a coward — too afraid of what might happen if a pro-democracy newspaper tells the truth about his Communist Party," Sasse said. "We have a duty to shine a light on these arrests so the world knows about the truth-telling heroes at Apple Daily.”

In June, the senator said that the staff of Apple Daily should be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for what his office called "their courage and determination in the face of the Chinese Communist Party’s tyranny."

Updated at 9:50 a.m.