Police in Hong Kong, where Beijing has been ramping up control, on Wednesday burst into the offices of Stand News, seizing phones, computers and documents and taking away its editor-in-chief.

The outlet later said it was immediately ceasing operations. “Journalism is not sedition,” Blinken said.

“We call on PRC and Hong Kong authorities to cease targeting Hong Kong’s free and independent media and to immediately release those journalists and media executives who have been unjustly detained and charged.”

Canadian foreign minister Melanie Joly also denounced the arrests of the journalists in Hong Kong, among them Denise Ho, who was born in Hong Kong but grew up in Canada.

“We are deeply concerned by the arrests in Hong Kong of current and former board and staff members from Stand News, including Canadian citizen and activist Denise Ho,” Joly said

The United States has already imposed sanctions on Hong Kong leaders and curtailed the territory’s separate status under US regulations after Beijing went ahead and imposed a draconian security law.

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