Reasons for the killing of Apple Daily (it says here): to scare all HongKongers; to silence all independent media; and to make everyone forget history. We could also add plain personal vindictiveness – a desire for revenge dating back to Giordano’s pro-student T-shirts in 1989.
By pulling the Next media group down, the CCP also makes Hong Kong a different place – as, say, demolishing the old Star Ferry pier for reclamation did in the past, and imposing simplified characters will in the future. Tian Feilong switches on the charm on this theme in Globular Times.
Apple Daily‘s demise attracts a lot of international media attention – along the lines that Beijing is breaking its promises to preserve Hong Kong’s freedoms and is endangering the city’s role as a business hub.
This overlooks two things. First, the Leninist leaders in Beijing would consider it absurd that they must be subservient to independent players – the media, courts, the law, principles of human or civil rights – in order for Hong Kong to maintain an ‘economic status’ defined by foreigners. CCP control is the only consideration. Second, it underestimates the motivation and determination of businesses to ignore degraded institutions so long as they are still making profits.
The persecution of Apple Daily does not stop here. NatSec Police arrested its lead opinion writer on suspicion of ‘conspiracy to collude with foreign forces’, presumably through his opinions.
A small sign that establishment figures are finding all this a bit too creepy – Bank of East Asia patriarch David Li sends his sympathies…