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Pro Democracy Hong Kong Newspaper Will Close Following The Arrest Of Executives

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Hong Kong’s pro-democracy newspaper said it will close down its doors, weeks following the arrest of its founder and several top executives, NPR reported Wednesday.

Apple Daily, which started in 1995, will run its last paper on Saturday, according to NPR. The newspaper did investigative reporting of Chinese political influence and commentary pieces calling for democratic changes to the island, according to NPR.

After the arrest of Jimmy Lai, the founder of Apple Daily, readers tried to support by donating money and buying advertisements, according to NPR.

“I had a young editor who said to me, they will have to physically remove me from my desk for me to leave,” said Mark Simon, an executive with Apple Daily’s publishing company, according to NPR.

Five top executives at Apple Daily were arrested June 16 by Chinese authorities in Hong Kong. Police said they had a warrant to search and seize journalistic material and raided the offices.

The arrests also made some staffers leave the newspaper, according to the BBC. An editorial writer described feeling as if she always had “a knife over your head,” she told the BBC. “If you don’t leave by yourself, you may be held criminally responsible.”

A court sentenced five pro-democracy protestors up to 18 months in prison April 16 for leading an anti-government protest in 2019. One of those convicted was Lai who sentenced to 14 months in prison.

Chinese government officials removed Hong Kong’s democratic system in May 2020 after approving a resolution to impose national security laws on the area.

Apple Daily’s publisher said in a statement that “due to the current circumstances prevailing in Hong Kong” it would need to shut down. It thanked “readers for their loyal support and our journalists, staff and advertisers for their commitment over the past 26 years.”

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