Hong Kong pro-democracy Apple Daily to shut down – .

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Hong Kong pro-democracy Apple Daily to shut down – .


The logos of Next Media and Apple Daily seen at their headquarters in Hong Kong on June 22, 2021.
Peter Parcs | AFP | Getty Images
Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Apple Daily said on Wednesday it would cease operations from midnight – just hours after police arrested another employee for allegedly breaking the controversial national security law.
Pressure on Apple Daily ahead of its shutdown has raised concerns about press freedom in Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous region under Chinese rule.

This follows a controversial national security law that went into effect last year, which Beijing says aims to ban secession, subversion of state power, terrorist activity and foreign interference.

Apple Daily said in a statement that its latest print edition will be released on Thursday and that its website will not be updated from midnight. Earlier, the newspaper’s publisher, Next Digital, said in a separate statement that the newspaper would close its doors no later than Saturday due to “current circumstances in Hong Kong.”

The newspaper has come under increasing pressure since its owner, media mogul Jimmy Lai, who is a vocal critic of China’s central government, was arrested last year under the National Security Act. Lai is now in prison and some of his assets have been frozen.

A Lai adviser told Reuters on Monday that the newspaper would be forced to shut down “in a few days” after authorities froze the company’s assets under the security law.
Last week, around 500 police raided the newspaper’s offices while some executives and staff were arrested on suspicion of colluding with a foreign country.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said following the raid that Washington was “deeply concerned about the Hong Kong authorities’ selective use of the National Security Act to arbitrarily target organizations. independent media ”.

Hong Kong is a former British colony which returned to Chinese rule in 1997. At the time, China agreed to rule the city under a “one country, two systems” that would allow the people of Hong Kong limited electoral rights and a largely separate legal framework. and economic system.

The Hong Kong National Security Law was implemented by Beijing last year bypassing the semi-autonomous region’s legislature.

Critics of China – which include pro-democracy activists and some governments like the US and UK – have accused Beijing of undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy.

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