Hong Kong | Readers pick up the latest edition of the Apple Daily

(Hong Kong) Long queues formed in front of newsstands in Hong Kong Thursday morning, as many locals hoped they could buy the latest edition of theApple DailyIt is a pro-democracy daily that was forced to stop publication, nearly a year after the National Security Law initiated by Beijing was passed.


Yan Chao and Jerome Taylor
France media agency

last picture, fileApple Daily He chose to display a large photo of the journalist who, from the newsroom, greeted the hundreds of people who had gathered on Wednesday in front of the newspaper’s headquarters to bid him farewell.

‘L’Apple Daily Deputy Editor-in-Chief Chan Boye Man, who was arrested last week on charges of endangering national security, wrote in a farewell letter to readers. Freedom of the press is a victim of tyranny.

The sudden disappearance of this newspaper is the latest blow to the freedom enjoyed by Hong Kong residents so far. It raises concerns that many of the international media that have set up their headquarters there, will leave the financial center in the long run.

Photo by Lam Yik, Reuters

In the working-class neighborhood of Mongkok, hundreds waited in the early hours of the day, some singing ” Apple DailyWe’ll meet again,” to have the last edition in our hands.

Among them, Candy, about thirty years old, who just wanted to give her first name, these events were “horrific”. “Within two weeks, authorities can use this national security law to dismantle a listed group.”

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Hours later, the stalls in Central, the city’s financial district, were always full. “This is all very surprising,” student Tim lamented his concern that Hong Kong had entered “a dark period.”

in the goal

The tabloid has long been in Beijing’s eyes for its support of the pro-democracy movement and its frequent criticism of Chinese leaders. Therefore, the latter did not hesitate to take advantage of the National Security Law to force him to disappear.

Its owner, newspaper mogul Jimmy Lai, is being held for his involvement in pro-democracy protests in 2019. He is also charged under the National Security Act, and carries a life sentence.

But the newspaper was dealt a fatal blow last week.

The editorial room was stormed, five of its officials were arrested, and the newspaper’s assets were frozen. Unable to pay their employees and suppliers, the press group had no choice but to throw in the towel and announce that Thursday’s edition, which contains 1 million copies for 7.5 million people, would be its last.

During the night from Thursday to Friday, he deleted his website and his Twitter and Facebook accounts.

More than a thousand people, including 700 journalists, are now unemployed.

“Hong Kong people have lost media outlets that dared to speak out and fought for the truth,” eight journalists’ associations said in a joint statement, calling on media workers to wear black.

Red line

China last year imposed a national security law to regain control of the territory after a broad pro-democracy movement in 2019.

A string of articles and op-eds that police say have called for international sanctions against China and Hong Kong has prompted the prosecution of Al Watan newspaper.Apple Daily.

Mr. Lai, editor-in-chief Ryan Low and managing director Cheung Kim-hong are being held after being accused of colluding with a foreign power.

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One of the columnists, Yong Ching Kee, was arrested on Wednesday and faces the same charges.

Decision to freeze assetsApple Daily Show the extent of the powers the authorities have to go after any company they believe threatens national security.

Over the decades, many international media outlets have made Hong Kong their regional headquarters, attracting favorable regulations and freedom of expression guaranteed by its mini-constitution.

But in recent months, many have questioned their long-term future in the city.

The city continues to fall in the annual ranking of the NGO Reporters Without Borders on press freedom, dropping from 18th place المرتبةe Set in 2002 at 80e this year.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that “criticizing the government is not a problem” but that the red line must not be crossed is “regulating acts that incite subversion”.

At first, the authorities claimed that the law imposed by Beijing, which is intended to put an end to all dissent, belonged to only a “small minority”.

Almost a year later, it radically changed the city’s political and judicial landscape. More than sixty people were charged with violating it, including many figures in the democratic movement.

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