Police charge four ex-Apple Daily staff – three of whom had already been arrested – with ‘conspiracy to collude with foreign forces’. Their alleged sin seems to have been writing or publishing articles calling for foreign sanctions against Hong Kong and Mainland officials. The government insists that criminalizing opinions is fine. And there’s still vague anti-doxxing and fake news laws to come. (Will it be ‘fake news’ to call lawmaker Elizabeth Quat ‘doctor’?)
For more on the impact of Apple Daily’s demise – plus a bold comparison of the Hong Kong press to defenders against Japanese troops in the Battle of Shanghai – see this interview with HKJA chair Ronson Chan.
Did the authorities deliberately choose the Yuen Long anniversary to bring these charges? If it was a Dept of Justice decision, it’s probably a coincidence. If the cops made the decision, it’s easy to believe they imagined it might ‘divert attention’. If it was Beijing officials, it’s plain spiteful malice. Bear in mind that Beijing’s people are running everything behind the scenes – and have an eye for vindictive detail.