by WorldTribune Staff, June 24, 2021
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has eliminated one of the last vestiges of freedom in Hong Kong with the forced closure of the pro-democracy Apple Daily newspaper.
Apple Daily — which had been in operation for 26 years — printed its last edition on Thursday. Its digital content was no longer accessible as of 11:59 p.m. local time Wednesday.
The Hong Kong Journalists Association and seven other industry groups released a statement that attributed the end of Apple Daily to “continuous government oppression.”
The Apple Daily was a target of the new national security law imposed by Beijing last year. The law prohibits what the communist government classifies as “secession, subversion of state power, terrorism activities and foreign interference.”
Related: CCP regime orders raid of Hong Kong’s Apple Daily as national security threat, June 17, 2021
Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai, a strong critic of the CCP, was arrested under the security law and remains in jail.
On orders from the CCP, Hong Kong authorities froze the newspaper’s assets, leaving it with little resources to sustain operations. Around 500 police officers also raided the newspaper’s offices last week and arrested several top editors and staff for alleged violations of the security law.
“There’s a warning here for other Hong Kong business enterprises that may not think they have a stake in what happens to Mr. Lai or Apple,” the Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Board noted on June 21.
“Hong Kong authorities are stealing Mr. Lai’s company because they don’t like his political views — and they have done it by police orders, without due process or judicial review. If they can do it to his company, does anyone really believe they won’t do it to a bank or tech company that offends China?”
Lai and the staff of Apple Daily, the Journal noted, are examples of “real journalistic courage that should educate an American media that likes to play up its bravery in challenging the government while living under the protection of the First Amendment and a free society. Mr. Lai and his journalists have put their freedom at risk to challenge a real tyranny.”