An era for Hong Kong has come to an end after one of the last pro-democracy newspapers, Apple Daily, sold out all of it’s 1 million copies of its final edition by 8:30 a.m. on Thursday.
Lately, the newspaper has been under fire by Chinese and Hong Kong authorities trying to suppress the democratic sentiment in the city. The newspaper was forced to close its doors after it said police froze $2.3 million of its assets, searched its office and arrested five executives and editors last week for alleged foreign collusion, in violation of Beijing’s national security law.
The arrests were the first time the law has been used against journalists for their work. Apple Daily was the last pro-democracy print newspaper in Hong Kong. Its owner, Jimmy Lai has been arrested multiple times and sentenced to 14 months in prison for involvement with the pro-democracy demonstrations.
— Reuters (@Reuters) June 24, 2021
“This is our last day, and last edition, does this reflect the reality that Hong Kong has started to lose its press freedom and freedom of speech?” asked Apple Daily graphic designer Dickson Ng, the AP reported. “Why does it have to end up like this?”
Apple Daily’s end signals a “dark day for press freedom in Hong Kong,” said Thomas Kellogg, executive director of the Georgetown Center for Asian Law. “Without Apple Daily, Hong Kong is less free than it was a week ago. Apple Daily was an important voice, and it seems unlikely that any other media outlet will be able to fill its shoes, given growing restrictions on free speech and freedom of the press.”
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab criticized the Chinese government’s actions to suppress opposition in a statement saying it has violated its pledge made in the UK-Sino Joint Declaration that was promised to Hong Kong. The protection of its civil liberties for 50 years after the city’s 1997 handover from Britain.