Pop star and pro-democracy activist Denise Ho has been released on bail, according to a post that appeared on her Twitter feed Thursday.
Ho had been arrested earlier this week in Hong Kong, along with six others associated with the pro-democracy publication Stand News. The arrests, along with a raid on the publication’s offices, were part of broader government enforcement of a national security law that went into effect in 2020.
The South China Morning Post (SCMP) reports that Ho and three others arrested have not been charged at this time, and have been released from custody. Two others – the former editor-in-chief Chung Pui-kuen and acting editor-in-chief Patrick Lam Shiu-tung – were charged with conspiracy to publish seditious content.
Opponents of the national security law, which forbids acts of secession and subversion in the semi-autonomous territory, have argued that it’s an excuse for authorities to impose limitations on the press, particularly on publications and reporters who are critical of the Hong Kong government’s growing ties to mainland China. Diplomats from Western countries, including the United States, have condemned the arrests.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, however, has defended enforcement of the security law, firing back at critics in an end-of-year press conference. “Some Western governments and media jumped to a conclusion without having an understanding of Hong Kong’s laws and evidence,” she said, according to the SCMP. “People who made such a suggestion, including politicians in the West, are tramping the rule of law.”
Stand News has ceased operations. The SCMP reports that Ho, a former Stand News board member, had stepped down from her position prior to her arrest.