Hong Kong’s largest pro-democracy newspaper ‘Apple Daily’ closes under pressure from Beijing

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Activists and defenders of the newspaper, with the last copy in their hands.

Hundreds of Hong Kongers queued early Wednesday to Thursday at the headquarters of Apple Daily to acquire the latest edition of the newspaper, critical of Beijing, published today after authorities freeze its assets under the security law that China imposed on Hong Kong.

The publishing company of the newspaper, Next Digital, announced yesterday the cessation of its operations due to the “current situation in Hong Kong”, where several of its executives have also been arrested in recent days accused of “conspiring with foreign forces”, one of the crimes typified in the aforementioned security law.

After midnight, many people gathered at the headquarters of Apple Daily to purchase the latest issue of the newspaper, which today releases a special publication with one million copies after 26 years of existence.

“I feel like I am attending the death of a family member tonight. I’m very sad, something is going forever, ”a man, Sung, who went to the newspaper’s headquarters to show his support for the newspaper, explained to Efe by phone.

“The Apple Daily It is a symbol of freedom in Hong Kong, the conscience and courage of the Hong Kong people. It is the only newspaper that has tried to protect our freedoms to the end. It was the only light in the dark, and now it goes off abruptly, ”he added.

Last Thursday, more than 500 policemen entered the premises of Apple Daily, computers and documents were seized, and the editor and director of the Hong Kong newspaper were arrested on charges of “conspiracy to conspire with foreign forces”, which could carry up to life imprisonment under the aforementioned law.

The law has been heavily criticized by the city’s pro-democracy movement, which believes that the legislation will not only punish dissent but also end the autonomy and freedoms enjoyed by the former British colony.

The Hong Kong authorities used the same accusation when freezing the assets of the head, which they say published more than 30 articles in which he asked for international sanctions on the governments of Beijing and Hong Kong.

The criticisms of Apple Daily Cited by the Hong Kong authorities go back, among others, to texts condemning the police response to the anti-government demonstrations that took to the streets of Hong Kong during the second half of 2019.

The editor, Cheung Kim-hung -also CEO of Next Digital-, and the director, Ryan Law, remain in police custody and will appear again in court on August 13, while three other executives arrested in the same operation they were released on bail pending investigation.

The founder of Apple Daily, Jimmy Lai, one of the best-known figures in the Hong Kong pro-democracy opposition, is in jail and also faces various charges relating to national security law.

Source: HuffPost Spain for Athena2 by www.huffingtonpost.es.

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