The recent series of crackdowns on Apple Daily by the Chinese Communist Party and the Hong Kong government have quickly triggered a chilling effect in the Hong Kong media sector.
First, the online media “Standpoint News” issued an announcement on June 27, stating that since a literal prison has come to Hong Kong, in order to protect its supporters, writers and editorial staff, and to reduce the risk to all parties, “Standpoint News” will temporarily take down all blog articles, reprinted articles and readers’ contributions and other commentaries published in May and before this year; suspend accepting sponsorship and suspend the monthly fee transfer arrangement for paid members; in addition Settlement of employees with more than six months of seniority rehired, and six of the eight directors of the parent company resigned from the board.
Immediately afterwards, on the 28th, online media winandmac issued an announcement saying that the freedom of press in Hong Kong is no longer available, and due to security concerns, it withdrew from Hong Kong and has cancelled its relevant business registration in Hong Kong.
On the same day, the founder of the 852 Post, You Qingyuan, said that he had temporarily taken down all previously released videos, describing the current political atmosphere in Hong Kong as a “black rainstorm, or even a No. 10 typhoon”, and that he had no choice but to take down the videos in order to “keep the body useful”. He apologized to the readers for this. He also said that the previous way of shooting the film is no longer feasible, the future will be another way to continue to “speak back to the feelings of Hong Kong, the spirit of Hong Kong”.
In the evening, the Hong Kong Journalists Association issued a statement in response, since the “Apple Daily” ceased publication, the media industry “self-censorship” of the wind “has blown like a hurricane fierce”, earlier the “position of the news” announced the temporary shelving of “blog articles “Today, the 852 Post has taken down all its videos and the online media Winandmac has withdrawn from Hong Kong. The incident reflects the media’s fear of criminalization by words, but also has shaken the media’s confidence in the government and law enforcement agencies to protect freedom of the press.
The HKJA stressed that freedom of speech is the mother of all freedoms in a civilized society, and freedom of the press is also part of freedom of speech, “when freedom of speech is repeatedly eroded, Hong Kong will no longer be called a civilized city”. The HKJA called on the media industry to unite and support each other to defend the freedom of the press from fear in these difficult times.
Sources said that not only the media, but also NGOs and Christian groups, have made preparations to “zero out” and then disband.
However, it was expected that during the epidemic, the Chinese Communist Party might not act so harshly and so quickly because of international relations and the industrial chain, but the situation has deteriorated far more than we expected. It is a disgraceful situation. Once again, the facts prove that the CCP is the sworn enemy of press freedom. Wherever the Chinese Communist Party’s clutches extend, freedom of the press will face extinction.
It is not difficult to predict that the situation will deteriorate further. In a new wave of personnel changes in Hong Kong, Secretary for Security Lee Ka-chiu was promoted to Chief Secretary for Administration, and Commissioner of Police Tang Ping-keung was appointed as Secretary for Security, replacing the “civilian” system with the police. This shows that the Chinese Communist Party has nakedly torn off the disguise of “one country, two systems” and turned the Hong Kong government into a police government, and its purpose is obvious, that is, to use tougher and more oppressive means to purge Hong Kong, and the media sector is undoubtedly one of the first targets.
But I believe that the spirit of Hong Kong people in defending and fighting for freedom of the press will not die out, nor is it likely to die out.
The announcement of Standpoint News ends with the following statement: “The Standpoint News team has shared the hardships of the past six and a half years with the people of Hong Kong, cherishing each other and weaving together the common memory of Hong Kong’s survival. We will continue to hold fast to our post to pass on this memory, walk with the people of Hong Kong, make good use of the hearts of our patrons and readers, and do a good job of writing and recording Hong Kong with every piece of news.”