Beijing-backed officials and media threaten to close Hong Kong’s “Apple Daily” newspaper

Pro-Beijing media and Hong Kong government officials are threatening the closure in collaboration with the local independent newspaper Apple Daily, one of the few free media remaining in Hong Kong.

Apple Daily was founded by Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai. Jimmy Lai was sentenced to 14 months in prison on April 16 for supporting Hong Kong’s anti-Beijing and democratization movements in 2019.

At the opening ceremony of Hong Kong’s New National Security Education Day, which was newly introduced on April 15, the city’s chief executive officer, Carrie Lam, said that the local government “schools, social organizations, the media, and last year in Beijing. “Internet on National Security Issues” based on the Hong Kong National Security Law passed by China’s ruling Communist Party.

On the same day, Hong Kong police commissioner Chris Tang told reporters that the police would “strengthen media oversight” and criticized Rye’s Apple Daily without a direct name. He also threatened the rest of the press, saying, “If there is evidence that someone is using fake news to incite hatred, they will be arrested and prosecuted.”

The editor-in-chief of the Apple Daily said that Tang’s remarks to the media represent a typical rhetoric from officials who neglected to take responsibility for the people, effectively paving the way for the government to suppress the media. He said he was.

Also published by the Hong Kong Journalists Association statement Condemns Tang for “making irrational remarks” [about the media] No substantive evidence. The association demanded that Tang withdraw his statement.

Hong Kong Security Secretary John Lee said at a parliamentary meeting on April 16 that “jammers and Hong Kong independence advocates” continue to spread the message through the media and are in government visibility It was.

Also the Hong Kong Chinese newspaper Ta Kung Pao, which is managed by the Chinese Communist Party liaison office in Hong Kong. Release An editorial calling for a ban on Apple Daily. The article accused Apple Daily of “engaging in collusion with foreign troops, inciting violence, producing fake news, and challenging national security.” These are all illegal under Beijing’s National Security Law.

Apple Daily answered Quoting Rye’s words, the accusation says, “Let’s stand tall in a corrupt era.”

Media mogul Jimmy Lai
On December 31, 2020, media mogul Jimmy Lai (founder of Apple Daily) arrived at the Court of Final Appeal in Hong Kong on the grounds of a Justice Department appeal against Hong Kong’s bail decision. (TyroneSiu / Reuters)

Apple Daily is widely regarded as a benchmark for Hong Kong’s freedom of the press, and the outside world is worried that the Beijing-backed Hong Kong government will start with Apple Daily to completely wipe out the Hong Kong media. I will.

Mr. Fu Kingwa, Associate Professor, Center for Journalism and Media Studies, University of Hong Kong Said “We believe the authorities will take action against the entire Hong Kong media,” said Radio Free Asia (RFA) in the situation.

As one of Hong Kong’s most influential media, Apple Daily “must be one of the main targets,” he said, and authorities threatened and silenced other media, making it difficult to function. He added that he is suppressing influential media to do so. As the fourth force of society to oversee the government and express people’s concerns.

Epoch Times Photo
The Hong Kong edition of The Epoch Times will come out of the press on April 17 as the outlet resumes printing after the attack on the printing facility on April 12. (The Epoch Times)

Meanwhile, as another medium independent of the influence of the Chinese administration, the Hong Kong Epoch Times printing press was attacked last week, destroying it by an unknown individual. The international community and politicians around the world have blamed the attack and expressed their support for the Epoch Times.

According to the analysis published by RFAWhen the UK handed over Hong Kong to communist China, they had an independent judiciary and common law system, clean and respected civil servants, a fair business environment, and the “four pillars” of Hong Kong’s success as free press. Was summarized. However, under the communist regime and the Chinese leader Xi Jinping, the first, a second, all the third “pillar” collapse.

Analysis shows that Ta Kung Pao’s article, which claims a ban on Apple Daily, is about to collapse the fourth pillar as well.