Li Ping, the editorial lead writer of Hong Kong’s Apple Daily, has been detained by police. This is the latest development in a campaign by Hong Kong authorities to round up Hong Kong’s free media in the name of national security laws.
Hong Kong police confirmed the news on Wednesday morning (June 23). Police said Li Ping was detained at his apartment on suspicion of “conspiracy to collude with foreign countries or forces outside the country to endanger national security.
According to Hong Kong media reports, Yang Qingqi, 55, a native of Fujian province, graduated from China’s Fudan University and worked in the theory department of Fujian Daily before leaving for Hong Kong.
He often wrote editorials and commentaries under the pseudonym “Ping Lun” at Apple Daily, and shared them with the public on several social media outlets. The day before he was detained by the police, he published an editorial, “Don’t wet your bed at dawn.
The editorial ridiculed some prominent Chinese intellectuals such as Chinese philosopher Feng Youlan and Fudan University professor Ge Jianxiong for speaking from their conscience for most of their lives, but becoming accomplices to power by falling to their knees before the evil system was about to collapse. The article urges more people to hold on to their conscience to the end.
Feng Youlan joined the Gang of Four writing group in the late Cultural Revolution, leaving an embarrassing past in the academic world. Ge Jianxiong, a professor at Fudan University who has long been known as an outspoken speaker in mainland China, recently publicly justified the Chinese Communist Party’s falsification of history to accommodate Xi Jinping’s so-called historical nihilism, saying that “any country, political party or group speaks of history in order to strengthen its political legitimacy. His remarks have provoked strong anger on the Internet.
Li Ping concluded the editorial by saying, “Both the Cultural Revolution in China and the Nazi period in Germany were dark times in the history of human civilization. However, there is a time when the darkness will pass and humanity will eventually return to civilization. Therefore, whether intellectuals, media workers, political figures or tycoons, in those times, they should withstand the torture of wisdom and conscience, not to pee in bed at dawn and make a mockery of history.”
Once this editorial was published, its title “Don’t pee on the bed at dawn” quickly became a Chinese Internet buzzword.
On June 17, hundreds of Hong Kong police officers broke into the Apple Daily building and arrested the newspaper and five executives of its parent company. They were: Editor-in-Chief Lo Wai-kwong, Apple Daily Vice President Chan Pui-man, Apple Daily News Platform Director Cheung Chi-wai, Apple Daily’s parent company Next Media Group CEO Cheung Kin-hong, and Next Media Group COO and CFO Chow Tat-kuen.
Hong Kong police also froze Apple Daily’s related assets, with the clear intention of completely shutting down the free media founded by media mogul Lai Chi-ying.
Hong Kong media said that June 25 will be the last issue of Apple Daily, and then the newspaper, which has been in circulation for 26 years, will end its mission. Sources say the final issue will have a circulation of 1 million copies, more than 10 times its daily circulation.