HK Farewell To Pro-Democracy Apple Daily
Hong Kongers lined up early Thursday to buy the last print edition of the last remaining pro-democracy newspaper.
By 8:30 a.m., Apple Daily’s final edition of 1 million copies was sold out across most of the city’s newsstands. The newspaper said it would cease operations after police froze US $2.3 million in assets, arrested five top editors and executives last week.
In recent years, the newspaper has become increasingly outspoken, criticizing Communist China’s and Hong Kong regime for limiting the city’s freedoms .
The pressure on the paper — and Hong Kong’s civil liberties — increased after the regime responded to massive protests in 2019 with a sweeping national security law — used in the arrests of the newspaper employees — and revamped Hong Kong’s election laws to keep opposition voices out of the legislature.
After 26 years Beijing shuts down the last free newspaper
Emotions ran high as supporters of the paper, which has faced an unrelenting squeeze since its owner and staunch Beijing critic, Jimmy Lai, was arrested under the security law in August 2020, queued for their last copies just after midnight.
I couldn’t sleep well for the past few nights, said Tse, 60, a former medical worker, who leaned on a cart to support herself as she queued outside a newspaper vendor in the working class district of Mong Kok.
I hope the reporters can stay true to their faith and keep working hard, she added.
Queues stretched at newsstands across the city after an emotional final print run at the headquarters of the paper, which was forced to shut after authorities froze its assets in a national security investigation.
Thank you to all readers, subscribers, ad clients and Hong Kongers for 26 years of immense love and support, the paper said in an online article.
Here we say good-bye, take care of yourselves.
Some staff expressed anger and frustration at the shutdown.
"No press freedom in Hong Kong"
After today, there is no press freedom in Hong Kong. I cannot see any future in Hong Kong, said Dickson Ng, 51, a designer at the paper.
I feel very disappointed and angry today. I don’t understand why our limited group, company, and the newspapers were forced to stop operating under such circumstances, he concluded.
In anticipation of robust demand for its final print run, Apple Daily, which mixes pro-democracy views with celebrity gossip and investigations of those in power, printed 1 million copies, or more than 10 times its usual print run.
The shutdown deals the most serious blow yet to Hong Kong’s media freedoms and could potentially destroy the city’s reputation as an open and free media hub