Massive response from readers following the Hong Kong Police attack on the newspaper while two of its executives are under arrest under the National Security Act
Queues began to form at some Hong Kong kiosks as early as midnight. Some of those waiting in districts like Mong Kok had never even bought a copy of the ‘Apple Daily’. But Thursday’s raid on the newspaper’s facilities served as a trigger to close ranks against Chinese censorship after the arrest of five executives was immortalized and how the 500 agents deployed confiscated notebooks and computers from the newsroom under the protection of the National Security Law .
The journalists of the popular newspaper, which for 26 years has been displaying a liberal discourse that mixes current events with celebrities with investigations by circles of power, worked throughout the night to reach newsstands. It was not a run as usual, but a special edition in which they challenged Beijing with a challenging message on its cover: “We must move on.” The same words that CEO Cheung Kim-hung spoke when, along with four other senior officials, he was brought in handcuffs by the police.
Cheung and editor-in-chief Ryan Law could not celebrate with their fellow writers the resounding success that the decision to multiply the circulation by six – from the usual 80,000 copies to half a million to stand up to China – had on the streets. The Hong Kong authorities yesterday decided to keep them under arrest, accusing them of “collusion with a foreign country or external elements to endanger national security.” The evidence wielded: about thirty articles calling for sanctions for China for violating freedoms. Both are due to appear in court today. The other three directors remain under investigation.
A “criminal syndicate”
While some readers transported hundreds of first editions in carts and suitcases and in some kiosks in central Hong Kong there was not a single ‘Apple Daily’ newspaper left in the morning, residents like Tam, a 40-year-old banker, confessed that for they bought a copy for the first time after learning of the raid. I don’t mean to do anything with him. It’s just because of my conscience, “he said.
Security Secretary John Lee called “Apple Daily” a “criminal syndicate.” “Normal journalists are different. Don’t get involved with them and keep your distance, ”he said in a clear warning that was denounced by the Hong Kong Journalists Association.
The main UN human rights spokesman, Rupert Colville, assured that the raid “sends a chilling message for the freedom of the media” that like the ‘Apple Daily’ defend democracy in the former British colony and are threatened, as well than hundreds of activists for the National Security Law, which criminalizes the opposition.
China, Hong Kong, Beijing