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30-Sep-2022
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Hong Kong: Democracy is in crisis.  "Apple Daily"  stopped.

    Hong Kong pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily  closed its publication." Apple Daily has long been a thorn in Beijing's side, with unapologetic support for Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement and criticism of China's authoritarian leaders. The decision is the latest blow to Hong Kong's freedom seekers

The 26-year-old newspaper, which is majority owned by jailed Beijing critic Jimmy Lai, has come under immense pressure from Hong Kong authorities, froze company assets, seized journalists’ computers and charged two of its top executives under a national-security law that was imposed by Beijing last year to crush dissent in the city.

Hong Kong officials allege Apple Daily,  used news as a tool to challenge China’s national security.

Ip Yut-kin, chairman of the paper's parent company Next Digital, told AFP News Agency , I have tens of thousands of words in my heart but I am speechless at this moment,"

British foreign secretary Dominic Raab described the "forced closure" of the paper by authorities as "a chilling demonstration of their campaign to silence all opposition voices".

The European Union said the closure "seriously undermines media freedom" as well as Hong Kong's reputation as a business hub.

China imposed its security law on Hong Kong last year to stamp out dissent after the city was convulsed by huge and often violent democracy protests.

Hong Kong authorities said their prosecution of Apple Daily was sparked by articles and columns that allegedly supported international sanctions against China, a view now deemed illegal.

It was the first time reporting and opinions published by a media outlet in Hong Kong had triggered the security law.

Multiple international media companies have regional headquarters in Hong Kong, attracted to the business-friendly regulations and free speech provisions of Hong Kong  Now local and international outlets are questioning whether they have a future there.

"Every journalist in Hong Kong now has a metaphorical gun pointed at their heads," Sharron Fast, a lecturer at the University of Hong Kong's journalism school, told AFP.

"When the result of your writing can lead to lifetime imprisonment -- you are being censored. Apple will not be the last - just the latest."