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World Taiwan condemns closure of Hong Kong's Apple Daily

04:58  24 june  2021
04:58  24 june  2021 Source:   reuters.com

Apple Daily editors arrested under Hong Kong security law

  Apple Daily editors arrested under Hong Kong security law HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong police on Thursday morning arrested the chief editor and four other senior executives of the pro-democracy Apple Daily newspaper under the national security law and were searching its offices, media reported. Apple Daily is known for its strong pro-democracy stance and often criticizes and condemns the Chinese and Hong Kong governments for tightening control over the city. The arrests and police search are the latest moves by Hong Kong authorities in a crackdown on dissent in the semi-autonomous Chinese city, following months of anti-government protests in 2019.

TAIPEI, June 24 (Reuters) - Taiwan condemned the closure of Hong Kong ' s most vocal pro-democracy newspaper the Apple Daily on Thursday as "political oppression" of the Chinese-run city's media, saying it sounded the death knell for freedom of speech and the media. The paper printed its last edition on Thursday after a stormy year in which its tycoon owner and other staff were arrested under a Beijing-imposed new national security law in Hong Kong , and its assets frozen. read more. Taiwan 's China policy-making Mainland Affairs Council, in a statement on the Apple Daily 's closure , said it felt

Hong Kong ’ s Secretary for Security, John Lee, had said in a press briefing that freezing the funds linked to Apple Daily is in line with international practice as the police continue to pursue their investigations. Apple Daily ’s circulation increased each time it was targeted by authorities as readers formed long lines to buy copies of the newspaper as a way of showing their support. The board of directors of parent company Next Digital thanks the publication’s readers and staff as it announced the closure .

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan condemned the closure of Hong Kong's most vocal pro-democracy newspaper the Apple Daily on Thursday as "political oppression" of the Chinese-run city's media, saying it sounded the death knell for freedom of speech and the media.

Final edition of Apple Daily in Hong Kong © Reuters/LAM YIK Final edition of Apple Daily in Hong Kong

The paper printed its last edition on Thursday after a stormy year in which its tycoon owner and other staff were arrested under a Beijing-imposed new national security law in Hong Kong, and its assets frozen.

Taiwan's China policy-making Mainland Affairs Council, in a statement on the Apple Daily's closure, said it felt "extreme regret and solemnly condemned" the fact that Hong Kong media has been unable to operate due to "political oppression" brought about by the national security law.

Hong Kong police raid pro-democracy paper, magnifying concerns over press freedom

  Hong Kong police raid pro-democracy paper, magnifying concerns over press freedom Apple Daily's editor-in-chief, Ryan Law, and four directors were detained on suspicion of colluding with foreign forces under the controversial national security law, which was imposed by Beijing last summer following the mass pro-democracy protests of 2019. Apple Daily is owned by Jimmy Lai, who is already in jail for a string of other protest-related charges while awaiting trial in a national security case. Lai and the paper are openly critical of China.

Hong Kong ’ s largest pro-democracy newspaper, Apple Daily , will shut down online at midnight on Wednesday and print its final edition on Thursday, in a move observers fear signals the death knell for press freedom in the territory. The paper and its activist founder, Jimmy Lai, had become symbols of the pro-democracy movement and a thorn in the side of Hong Kong ’ s Apple Daily Taiwan said it was a financially independent subsidiary and its operations and staff of about 500 were unaffected by the closure . Later in the afternoon supporters left laminated notes of thanks on the fence of Apple Daily .

Last week, Hong Kong authorities raided Apple Daily ’s office over accusations that it has engaged in “collusion with a foreign country,” breaching the national security law that was implemented in the wake of the 2019 anti-Beijing protests. Steve Li, a superintendent at Hong Kong ’ s national security unit, used a press conference last Thursday to accuse Apple Daily of publishing more than 30 articles that encouraged the implementation of foreign sanctions on China, which he called “a very crucial part in the conspiracy.”

"This unfortunate incident has not only sounded the death knell for freedom of press, publication, and speech in Hong Kong, but has also allowed the international community to see for themselves the Communist Party regime's totalitarianism and autocracy," it said on Thursday.

"The human pursuit of freedom and democracy and other universal values ​​will not be ended by history, but history will always record the ugly face of those in power suppressing freedom."

Hong Kong has become another source of tension between Taipei and Beijing, especially after Taiwan lambasted the new security law that Beijing imposed on Hong Kong and began welcoming Hong Kong people to settle on the democratic island.

China claims Taiwan as its own territory.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Yimou Lee; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Michael Perry)

Hong Kong's first trial under new national security law begins without a jury .
Hong Kong on Wednesday began the trial for the first person charged under its controversial national security law, which has transformed the city's political landscape since it was imposed by Beijing last year. Tong Ying-kit, 24, pleaded not guilty to two charges of inciting secession and terrorism activities after allegedly driving his motorbike into a group of police officers and injuring three at a pro-democracy protest last July.He was allegedly carrying a banner that read "Liberate Hong Kong" at the time -- grounds for inciting secession under the new law, prosecutors said.

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