The asphyxiation of Apple Daily nears its end, now the Hong Kong authorities have frozen its assets and left it with no funds to pay staff or suppliers. An editorial. Ramy Inocencio livestreams the last night of the live news broadcast. A couple of articles that didn’t make it, from Kevin Carrico and Laura Harth. Not everyone liked the paper, but a tabloid that is often tawdry and in bad taste is a mark of a free, pluralist society. (As is often the case, many of those who found it offensive needed to have their sensitivities tweaked occasionally.)
What has happened here is that the CCP is deliberately destroying a successful business – one of Hong Kong’s more vibrant brands, hundreds of jobs, hundreds of millions in shareholder value – purely out of vindictiveness. Jailing boss Jimmy Lai is not enough: all must feel pain for being outspoken and critical.
Not a peep, predictably, from the rest of Hong Kong’s corporate sector. Even other local media outlets are downplaying the press-freedom side of the story (their owners being pro-Beijing shoe-shiners – and glad at the removal of some competition).
What will happen to the paper’s online archives? Especially the brilliant animated news stories with the panda bear bursting into tears all the time?
And of course, who or what next? So far, the NatSec regime has tried to locally block (or have taken down) only a handful of websites. But a broader, semi-Great Fire Wall system of Internet censorship – notably police raids and other harassment of independent online media and social-media account owners – must be on the way.
In the background, the recent steady neutering of RTHK, and the end of Tiananmen vigils and July 1 marches. Hanging a ‘Liberate Hong Kong’ flag from your apartment’s washing rack now results in police breaking into your home. And then there are water bottles with slightly edgy slogans expressing love for Hong Kong. Still some around at a nearby 7-Eleven. Must dash – someone banging on the door…