The board of directors of Apple Daily confirmed the rumors that shook the press during the last hours stating that on June 24, both the print edition and the digital version of the newspaper will cease to be published. The decision came because of intense pressure exerted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) against the pro-democracy media.
Apple Daily, which began publishing in 1995, will publish its last paper on Wednesday, according to an official statement confirming rumors published by the international press.
The newspaper did investigative reporting on Chinese political influence and commentary calling for democratic changes on the island, which drew the ire of the CCP, prompting the arrest of its founder and several top executives.
After the arrest of Jimmy Lai, the founder of Apple Daily, readers tried to support by donating money and buying ads, according to the Daily Caller.
The newspaper reportedly managed to survive the arrest of its founder and editor-in-chief and several other top executives. But last week, the CCP blocked its bank accounts, paralyzing the newspaper’s operations, making it unfeasible to continue publishing.
For the past 26 years, the Hong Kong-based media outlet has conducted defiant investigations into Beijing’s political influence on the island, resulting in solid editorials in favor of democratic reforms in Hong Kong that denounced the atrocities and corruption of the CCP leaders.
In 2020, the CCP succeeded in imposing the National Security Law in Hong Kong, which made it easier for the communist authorities to combat the freedom and independence initiatives on the island in recent years.
CCP authorities argue their persecution of the Apple Daily media is because of articles and columns written during the last year that allegedly support the international sanctions against China, which, after the new security legislation, is an opinion that is considered illegal.
Thanks to this legislation, they also managed to imprison the newspaper managers, seeking to leave it acephalous and lead it to natural closure, avoiding closing it by force, which would cause criticism in the international community.
In August 2020, after the arrest of its founder and several business partners, Apple Daily staff defiantly stood up to the CCP and promised to stay until the end. But the pressures continued to the point of blocking the company’s bank accounts, thus making it difficult to finance the newspaper.
It all got worse last week when more than 500 police officers raided the newspaper’s newsroom, taking computers, notebooks and arresting five senior Apple Daily executives. Police said they had a warrant to search and seize journalistic material and raid the offices, as reported by Reuters.
Chinese authorities dismantled Hong Kong’s former democratic system in the early 2020s with the National Security Law and have since cracked down increasingly hard on the remaining organizations in the city that support democracy.
The CCP succeeded in tightening its grip on Hong Kong in March this year by enacting a law mandating that all “elected” legislators in the city must be “patriots,” i.e. loyal to the CCP’s rule.
The CCP is desperate in the face of millions of citizens who have woken up and are confronting its authoritarianism. However, the CCP seems to have no limits to establish terror and do whatever is necessary to eliminate opposing voices, as happened today with the Apple Daily newspaper.