Hong Kong’s Free Press Is Dying
When Hong Kong’s national security law was passed in June 2020, the law’s many critics warned it would have a chilling effect that would lead to the death of free speech, the suppression of a free press, and the censorship of people deemed disloyal by the state. These fears have been sadly vindicated with a newsroom raid last week that ended with the arrest of some of Hong Kong’s top journalists and one of the last bastions of pro-democracy thought shuttering its doors permanently.
Last Thursday, hundreds of cops raided the offices of one of Hong Kong’s most committed and widely read pro-democracy publications, Apple Daily, and arrested the editor in chief and other top executives, as well as those at the publication’s parent company, Next Digital. When arrests continued yesterday and authorities arrested one of the paper’s top opinion writers, the publication announced it would be closing immediately, citing staff safety concerns and the inability to pay salaries due to bank accounts being frozen.
“Apple Daily continued to report on the raid even as police officers declared the newsroom a crime scene,” The New York Times‘ Austin Ramzy and Tiffany May wrote. “When officers prevented the reporters from livestreaming the raid from inside the office and forced them to leave, the paper set up a camera on the building’s roof that watched the operation from a distance. Once they were allowed to return to their seats, reporters whose desktop computers had been seized wrote articles on their mobile phones instead.”
“The Chinese Communist Party and its National Security Law clearly view being Chinese and being frank about the current political system to be mutually incompatible, and are currently aiming to force this foreign dishonesty and unfreedom on the city of Hong Kong in t
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