A week after editors raid: Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Apple Daily shuts down

Hong Kong pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily Stop it. The board announced on Wednesday that the latest print edition will be released on Thursday.

The closure was no surprise. The 26-year-old newspaper is in dire financial straits because the authorities have frozen her bank accounts. Less than a week ago, the newspaper’s editors were searched and five executives arrested. In the end, the publisher and editor-in-chief were charged on suspicion of collusion with foreign powers. The other three were released on bail. The newspaper’s assets were also frozen, so that wages could no longer be paid.

The raid came due to thirty opinion articles in the newspaper calling for the imposition of foreign sanctions on China and Hong Kong. The authorities invoke a controversial security law for this purpose. It was drafted in Beijing and according to critics, it was formulated in such a general way that it could easily be used to deal with difficult personalities and organizations.

Beijing sees the law as a way to restore stability to the former British crown colony, which had far more freedoms than other parts of the Communist People’s Republic.

The newspaper’s owner, media mogul Jimmy Lai, has been imprisoned for some time on the basis of the law

Hong Kong government leader Carrie Lam said earlier this week that it was not the job of the Hong Kong media to “undermine” the government.

The European Union and the United Kingdom described the raid on The Apple Daily as an attack on press freedom. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also responded forcefully to the announcement of the newspaper’s closure on Wednesday. “The forced closure of the Apple Daily by the Hong Kong authorities is a horrific example of their campaign to silence all dissenting voices,” Raab said in a tweet.

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The closure was no surprise. The 26-year-old newspaper is in dire financial straits because the authorities have frozen her bank accounts. Less than a week ago, the newspaper’s editors were searched and five executives arrested. In the end, the publisher and editor-in-chief were charged on suspicion of collusion with foreign powers. The other three were released on bail. The newspaper’s assets were also frozen, so that wages could no longer be paid. The raid came due to thirty opinion articles in the newspaper calling for the imposition of foreign sanctions on China and Hong Kong. The authorities invoke a controversial security law for this purpose. It was drafted in Beijing and according to critics, it was formulated in such a general way that it could easily be used to deal with difficult personalities and organizations. Beijing sees the law as a way to restore stability to the former British crown colony, which had far more freedoms than other parts of the Communist People’s Republic. The newspaper’s owner, media mogul Jimmy Lai, has been jailed for some time because of the law Hong Kong government leader Carrie Lam said earlier this week that the Hong Kong media is not tasked with “undermining” the government. The European Union and the United Kingdom described the raid on The Apple Daily as an attack on press freedom. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also responded forcefully to the announcement of the newspaper’s closure on Wednesday. “The forced closure of the Apple Daily by the Hong Kong authorities is a horrific example of their campaign to silence all dissenting voices,” Raab said in a tweet.

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Megan Vasquez

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