(Hong Kong) Long lines formed in front of Hong Kong newsstands on Thursday morning, with many locals hoping to be able to buy the latest releaseApple DailyAlmost a year after the proclamation of the National Security Act initiated by Beijing, the pro-democracy daily was forced to stop publishing.
His last, TheApple Daily He chose to show a large photo of a journalist who, from the newsroom, greeted hundreds of people who had gathered on Wednesday in front of the daily headquarters.
«L ‘Apple Daily Is dead, ”said San Pui-man, who was arrested last week for endangering national security in a farewell letter to readers. “Freedom of the press is a victim of tyranny”.
The newspaper suddenly disappeared, the latest blow to the freedom enjoyed by Hong Kongers until now. In the long run, it raises fears that many of the international media outlets that have set up their headquarters there will leave the financial center.
Hundreds of people were waiting in the early hours of the morning in the working class district of Mongkok, some singing. ” Apple Daily, We will meet again ”, to keep the last version in our hands.
Of them, Candy, about thirty, only wanted to give his first name, and these events were “shocking”. “Within two weeks, the authorities can use this National Security Act to remove the listed group.”
After a few hours, the kiosks in the city’s financial district, Central, were always full. “It’s very sudden,” said Tim, a student who was upset and worried that Hong Kong had entered “a dark time.”
In cross chairs
The paper has long been in Beijing’s view of its support for the pro-democracy movement and its continued criticism of Chinese leaders. Therefore, he did not hesitate to use the National Security Act to force him to disappear.
Its owner, newspaper mogul Jimmy Loy, has been remanded in custody for his involvement in pro-democracy protests in 2019. He faces a life sentence under the National Security Act.
But just last week the newspaper was given a terrible blow.
The newsroom was raided and 5 of its executives were arrested and the newspaper’s assets were frozen. Unable to pay its staff and suppliers, it threw the piece to the press team and announced on Thursday that the edition would have one million copies for 7.5 million people.
From Thursday to Friday night, he deleted his website and his Twitter and Facebook accounts.
More than a thousand are now out of work, including 700 journalists.
“The people of Hong Kong have lost a media that dared to speak out and fought against the truth,” the eight media associations said in a joint statement, calling on people working for the media to wear black.
China enacted the National Security Act last year to regain control of the territory after a broad pro-democracy movement in 2019.
A series of articles and editorials urging police to impose international sanctions on China and Hong Kong prompted the lawsuit.Apple Daily.
Mr Lai, editor-in-chief Ryan La and managing director Cheung Kim-Hung are in custody after being accused of collaborating with a foreign power.
One of the columnists, Yung Sing-ki, was arrested on Wednesday and faces the same charges.
Decision to freeze assetsApple Daily It showed the extent to which authorities should investigate any company they believe is a threat to national security.
For decades, many international media outlets have made Hong Kong their regional headquarters, guaranteed by its small constitution of favorable terms and freedom of expression.
But in recent months, many have wondered about their long-term future in the city.
The city continues to reduce the annual ranking of voluntary organizations with no restrictions on press freedom, dropping it from 18e Ranked at 80 in 2002e This year.
Chief executive Gary Lam said Tuesday that “criticizing the government is not an issue” but not crossing the Red Fort is “regulating acts that incite humiliation.”
Initially, officials said that the law imposed by Beijing aimed at ending all disagreements only referred to a “minority”.
Almost a year later, it radically changed the political and judicial landscape of the city. More than sixty people, including several members of the democratic movement, have been accused of violating it.