Time and time again, the brave reporters of Hong Kong’s Apple Daily have risked their freedom for daring to write independent and critical reports on the regime in Beijing and its minions in Hong Kong.
The regime responded with raids, arresting the general manager and editor-in-chief and freezing the newspaper’s accounts.
Now the “Apple Daily” should be closed. She added on the newspaper’s website that the latest issue will be published on Thursday.
On Wednesday at midnight, the editorial team will stop working, and the site will not be updated either. The publisher simply ran out of money due to frozen accounts.
China has left Hong Kong’s most important and independent newspaper to its knees.
► “Hong Kong’s democracy is dying before the world. With the end of the Apple Daily, Beijing’s security law silences another independent voice. Alexander Graf Lampsdorff (54, FDP), foreign policy expert and member of the Bundestag’s Foreign Affairs Committee, told BILD: “Europe should not be silent on this.”
The Chinese Communist regime has been keeping the “Apple Daily” in its sights for a long time, and its founder Jimmy Lai (72 years old) was arrested in August 2020 for allegedly collaborating with “foreign forces”.
It was the only newspaper that dared to tell the truth, and now it’s gone. Hong Kong activist and former Apple Daily Glacier Kwong (24) columnist told BILD that anyone who works for them risks going to jail.
He continued, “I am very upset and angry that there is nothing I can do to help them without putting them at risk. For my work in the democratic movement, I am now a wanted criminal under the National Security Act, so that everyone I come into contact with in public is a target.”
“I can’t imagine not having Apple Daily anymore because I rely on it to understand what people in Hong Kong are feeling and what’s going on,” said Kwong, who is currently living in exile in Hamburg.
And last week, Beijing launched the final blow against the “Apple Daily”: 500 police officers stormed the editorial building, confiscated computers and servers and arrested several high-ranking employees – chief among them editor-in-chief Ryan Low and managing director Cheong Kim.
Like Jimmy Lai, Cheung and Lu are charged with “collusion with another country or external elements to endanger national security” – an offense punishable by imprisonment under the National Security Act.
What exactly “confidential agreements” mean in practice has not been precisely defined. Because the National Security Law was deliberately worded so vaguely that Beijing could use its rubber stamps to strike any criticism.
► Now the communist regime of Hong Kong has hit the free press in the back of the knee.
Christian Meir, director general of Reporters Without Borders in Germany, describes the end of the Apple Daily as a “tragedy” for BILD: “The fact that the Apple Daily should shut down is a tragedy for press freedom that has already been hit hard in Hong Kong. The raid – the second in a year – and the arrests of senior officials last week showed that the government will do everything in its power to silence one of the last independent media and a symbol of press freedom in the world. Hong Kong “.
The Apple Daily is one of the few media outlets in Hong Kong that dares openly criticize the Chinese regime and has reported in detail about the pro-democracy protests in 2019, Mir told BILD. The Special Administrative Region was once a bastion of press freedom. But the crackdown on Apple’s Daily and above all Beijing’s “security law” in 2020 shows that there isn’t much left of it.”
Meanwhile, Graf Lampsdorff called on EU Heads of State and Government to act: “At the meeting of EU Heads of State and Government, the Chancellor should call for a clear position on the part of the EU and tougher personal sanctions against those responsible for violations of press freedom and freedom of expression used. Hong Kong,” the leading politician of the Free Democratic Party told BILD.