The Hong Kong pro-democracy daily Apple Daily appeared combative in the kiosks Friday, June 18 in the morning, the day after a spectacular search of its premises, with in “one” a message of challenge launched to the pro-Beijing power: “We must continue”.
The newspaper and its owner, the currently incarcerated press magnate Jimmy Lai, have long been in Beijing’s sights for their support of the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement and their recurring criticism of the Chinese leadership. But the latter now appear determined to muzzle this press organ, as part of the takeover of the former British colony, which is supposed to enjoy wide autonomy.
More than 500 police officers surrendered Thursday to the daily for a search, which was, according to the authorities, in connection with articles accused of calling for sanctions against China. Five of the newspaper’s executives, including its editor, Ryan Law, and chief executive, Cheung Kim-hung, were arrested on charges of colluding with foreign forces under Beijing’s drastic national security law. imposed last summer.
Increase in draft
After the search, the journalists returned to the newsroom, which lacked many computers and hard drives, which had been seized by the police. But the editorial staff worked all night, under the eyes of many journalists from other media, to allow the daily created in 1995 to appear on Friday.
The editor-in-chief wanted the “front page” sober, presenting the faces of the five people arrested, accompanied by a purely informative comment: “The national security police are raiding theApple, arrested five people, seized 44 hard drives from the editorial staff ”. Below, in very large yellow characters, we could read “We must continue”, the phrase Mr. Cheung said to his employees when he was taken away in handcuffs by the police.
The group has decided to print 500,000 copies, which is six times greater than its normal circulation, betting that the Hong Kong people, who mobilized massively in 2019 to support the democratic struggle, will snatch this historic number.
In the working-class district of Mongkok, dozens of people lined up very early on Friday to buy the newspaper, even before it was delivered. “Normally, we sell about sixty copies, but this time we have sold 1 800the owner of a kiosk told Agence France-Presse on condition of anonymity. Everything has been sold. We ordered 3 000 and we are waiting to be delivered. “