Apple Daily Dead at 26, Killed By Beijing
Apple Daily Dead at 26, Killed By Beijing
No, Apple Daily is not part of Apple technology, or iPhones or iPads. Nor does it have anything to do with Apple Corps Limited, the media company the Beatles founded in 1968. But the story of the rise and fall of Hong Kong’s Apple Daily newspaper is one you should know. It’s one more warning to the West of Communist Chinese repression.
Jimmy Lai, a textile tycoon, founded the paper in 1995. But Lai has also been a dissident and a thorn in the side of the Communist Chinese for a long time. Now Lai sits in prison after being convicted of his participation in pro-democracy rallies in Hong Kong, most recently in 2019. He’s been imprisoned since December, denied bail, and will remain there for about 14 months. Beijing calls Lai a traitor and “anti-China” for his pro-democracy activities.
Now Beijing has gone after Lai’s assets and Apple Daily, the newspaper he founded. Last week 500 Beijing-backed Hong Kong police raided the offices, seizing computers and files. They also arrested five executives, and even worse, charged two of them of “colluding with foreign forces.” Apple Daily’s crimes? They published over 30 articles that called for sanctions on Beijing and its puppets in Hong Kong. That’s a violation of the Security Law.
Here’s a brief video explaining just what happened to Apple Daily:
Then came the final nail in the paper’s coffin: Beijing froze its assets of about $2.32 million in US dollars, rendering Apple Daily incapable of continuing operations. Thursday will be the final edition for the paper. Its other operations, including English news sections, videos, finance sections, and Twitter account ended earlier this week.
But the courageous staff continued their work until the very end. They printed a million copies overnight.
2/ The embattled pro-democracy daily is printing a million copies overnight after it was forced to close, unable to pay staff following an assets freeze. Full story: https://t.co/1iw3sp8smg pic.twitter.com/SFFdGktYnm
— Hong Kong Free Press HKFP (@hkfp) June 23, 2021
The paper thanked its readers in a statement:
“The Company thanks our readers for their loyal support and our journalists, staff and advertisers for their commitment over the past 26 years.”
Meanwhile, faithful readers have been sending food, drinks, and thank you cards to the staff, according to “Mary,” a senior staff member. In an interview with The Epoch Times, Mary expressed her fears about the future of a free press under the security law:
“It’s likely to send a chill to the news industry. Because the police and the government haven’t clarified what reporting or opinion articles they have deemed as a violation of the national security law, everyone will now be very careful with what they write and report.”
And Yamini Mishra of Amnesty International blasted Beijing for suppressing free expression:
“The paper has been effectively banned by the government for publishing articles that criticized it, and for reporting on international discussions about Hong Kong. This is an unacceptable attack on freedom of expression.”
Nathan Law, a Hong Kong pro-democracy activist exiled in Britain, wrote in a Twitter thread:
1. Most of you may not understand how dreadful the closure of Apple Daily means to Hong Kong. Not only to its journalistic landscape, but also to the people and the city itself. This is their last day. They are going to print 1 million copies tomorrow to commerate the fight. pic.twitter.com/x14g4anvth
— Nathan Law 羅冠聰 (@nathanlawkc) June 23, 2021
Hong Kong stands by Apple Daily. They will not be deterred in their quest for freedom of expression.
But here in the US our journalists congratulate each other for “speaking truth to power” to a president they despised. They call themselves “brave” — the Jim Acostas and Yamiche Alcindors — for angering President Trump during press conferences. And they swooned when the weak-willed Joe Biden told them he was eating a “chocolate chocolate chip” ice cream cone. Then they have the audacity to remind us that “democracy dies in darkness,” and that they’re the ones showing us the light. While stifling information that they don’t like.
Our coddled press corps pales in comparison to the plucky staff members of Apple Daily.
Welcome, Instapundit readers!