China continues to take control of the Hong Kong press. The police announced that they had arrested, Wednesday, July 21, a former editor-in-chief of theApple Daily, prodemocracy tabloid of the former British colony, recently forced into closure.
In a statement, police report the arrest of a man, 51, for “Collusion with foreign forces”. The crime falls under the new national security law that Beijing imposed on its semi-autonomous territory last year. A police source clarified the name of the detainee, Lam Man-chung. He is the ninth employee of theApple Daily to be taken prisoner under the National Security Act.
After the arrest of several of its officials and the freezing of its assets, the daily Apple Daily, which had become known for its criticism of the Chinese government and the local executive which is aligned with Beijing, was forced to go out of business after twenty-six years of existence. On June 24, he published his last issue. Lam Man-chung was the editor in chief of this final edition.
Freedom of the press “in pieces”
Authorities accuse the daily of supporting calls for international sanctions against China. This position is now liable to prosecution under the new law. The newspaper’s owner, seventy-three-year-old magnate Jimmy Lai, is currently in jail. He was also charged with “Collusion with foreign forces”, en under the National Security Act.
On July 15, the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA), Hong Kong’s leading journalists’ union, declared that press freedom was ” crumbled “ in the territory, supposed to enjoy a wide autonomy. “The past year has undoubtedly been the worst year for press freedom”, HKJA president Ronson Chan said on the sidelines of the presentation of the organization’s annual report. A thousand employees of Mr. Lai’s group lost their jobs, including 700 journalists.