HONG KONG — Hong Kong authorities jailed a senior reporter from the Apple Daily paper at the airport Sunday as he tried to leave the city, 4 days after the paper’s forced closure, in the current crackdown by Beijing under the sweeping brand-new nationwide security law.
Police validated in a declaration to NBC News that a 57-year-old guy had actually been jailed for “conspiring to collude with foreign countries or foreign sources to endanger national security” — a criminal activity punishable by approximately life in jail.
The reporter, who has actually not been formally called, is now the seventh Apple Daily employee to be jailed on nationwide security charges in current weeks.
Police robbed Apple Daily’s workplaces previously this month, jailing 5 of its senior editors and executives, while likewise freezing monetary accounts. The paper — among Hong Kong’s most popular papers and an intense China critic — released its last edition Thursday in the middle of ever-deepening limitations enforced by Beijing, following monthslong demonstrations in 2019.
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The paper’s creator, Jimmy Lai, was jailed in 2015 and charged with nationwide security offenses. While in detention, he was offered a 20-month sentence for participating in prohibited assemblies.
Apple Daily’s last 1 million copies were offered out at newsstands throughout the city as countless Hong Kongers braved downpour to bid an unpleasant goodbye to the paper. It is the current obstacle for the city’s press flexibility and totally free speech, which activists state has actually been suppressed under the brand-new law that intends to quash dissent and stop pro-democracy advocacy in the semiautonomous Chinese area.
The Hong Kong Journalists Association in a declaration Monday condemned the current arrest and implicated the authorities of targeting reporters.
“HKJA reiterates that freedom of speech and freedom of the press are both Hong Kong’s core values,” it stated in a Facebook declaration. “If the ‘writer’s pen’ is forbidden, Hong Kong will hardly be regarded as an international city.”
It included that the chain of current news occasions has “almost completely killed the freedom of the press in Hong Kong.”
Meanwhile, news of the arrest was trending on China’s greatly censored social networks app Weibo, with Guancha.cn’s newspaper article learnt more than 59 million times.
“The law is clear. Those who distort the facts and incite social instability should have expected this kind of result,” user Moqing composed on the platform.
Li Wei, an analyst with Phoenix TELEVISION, a Hong Kong-based broadcaster understood for taking a pro-government line, composed: “This ‘fruit’ media is trying to mess up Hong Kong. The media who want to mess up the city continue to turn the non-existent into rumor, then amplify and spread it, tipping society into a panic.”
Separately, the crowd-funded pro-democracy digital news outlet Stand News revealed late Sunday that it would stop accepting month-to-month contributions and remove older viewpoint posts — an action it has actually required to lower the dangers under the nationwide security law.
The 6 directors of the outlet, consisting of the Hong Kong vocalist and activist Denise Ho, have actually stepped down.
“[We] have actually been through suffering and challenge with Hong Kong individuals over the previous 6 and a half years,” the outlet stated in the declaration. “We will continue to… stroll with Hong Kongers, treasure the hearts of our customers and readers, do a great task with every piece of news, compose and tape-record Hong Kong.”
Christina Ching Yin Chan contributed.