Apple Daily: Hong Kong newspaper that pushed the border.

 

Pro-democracy district councillor Lam Chun holds a copy of the Apple Daily newspaper

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The Apple Day by day paper has change into a logo for protesters

It began off as an area Hong Kong tabloid, recognized for its generally sensational headlines and paparazzi images.

However over its 25 years in print, the Apple Day by day has change into one thing rarer – a newspaper unafraid to be overtly crucial of the Chinese language state and a normal bearer for the pro-democracy motion in Hong Kong.

And now, a bit of over a month since China imposed a brand new nationwide safety legislation on Hong Kong, the Apple Day by day has change into a goal. Police raided the paper’s places of work on Monday and arrested its proprietor, Jimmy Lai, and 9 others on costs together with colluding with overseas forces.

The raid on the newspaper has raised fears of a broader crackdown on media freedom in Hong Kong – and for the way forward for one of many few papers unafraid to push the boundaries.

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Mr Lai was amongst 10 folks arrested on costs together with colluding with overseas forces

Forbidden fruit

Apple Day by day was established in 1995 by Mr Lai, reportedly named after the forbidden fruit within the Bible.

“If Eve hadn’t bitten the forbidden fruit, there can be no sin, no proper and incorrect, and naturally – no information,” Mr Lai advised information website the Lianhe Night Information in an earlier interview.

The paper established itself as a tabloid and have become recognized for its sensationalist articles and daring catchy headlines, specializing in crime and leisure information.

It strayed generally into unethical territory. In 1998 it revealed a report a few Hong Kong man who was photographed soliciting prostitutes on the Chinese language mainland shortly after his spouse dedicated suicide.

It was later revealed {that a} reporter from Apple Day by day had paid the person cash to pose for the {photograph}.

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Jimmy Lai on the Apple Day by day places of work in 1995

However over time the paper developed and began to cowl extra political information. Hong Kong started experiencing a collection of social actions within the early 2000s which noticed folks resisting integration with the mainland.

That resistance opened up the market of political information for Apple Day by day, based on Dr Joyce Nip, a senior lecturer in Chinese language media research on the College of Sydney, and gave the paper a singular benefit when different mainstream information retailers started “toeing the road of [one country, two systems]”.

“Apple Day by day typically disapproves of the Beijing political system, mainland China and its appointed administration in Hong Kong, each in its information agenda and in its [framing] of the information,” stated Dr Nip.

And whereas the paper continued to cowl gentle information and leisure, it more and more produced political items and cemented its place as an unapologetically pro-democracy paper.

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A protest in opposition to then chief government Tung Chee-hwa

On 1 July 2003, the anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China from British rule, a large-scale rally had been organised in opposition to the administration of the then Chief Govt, Tung Chee-hwa. Apple Day by day was vocal in its help for the motion, printing the phrases “No to Tung Chee-hwa” in its headline.

The paper’s reporters are usually barred from overlaying information in mainland China and none had been permitted to cowl the 2008 Beijing Olympic Video games.

In 2011, when Chinese language dissident artist Ai Weiwei was arrested by Beijing authorities, Apple Day by day’s headline declared: “Beijing politics rapes Ai Weiwei.”

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In 2019, Apple Day by day received the Hong Kong Human Rights Press Award for its reporting on Liu Xia, the spouse of the outstanding Chinese language human rights activist Liu Xiaobo, who died whereas serving an 11-year sentence for “subversion”.

The paper’s criticism of the Chinese language authorities and pro-establishment figures in Hong Kong reportedly resulted in frequent promoting boycotts.

‘Kill the hen to scare the monkey’

After which, this week, the paper noticed the arrest of its personal founder, Mr Lai, and a handful of different media figures and activists, underneath the sweeping new safety legislation handed by China in June.

“The sight of greater than 100 police males raiding the newsroom was actually stunning,” stated Professor Keith Richburg, the director of the Journalism and Media Research Centre on the College of Hong Kong.

“I feel it was fully meant to scare [other media outlets]. In Chinese language there is a saying, ‘Kill the hen to scare the monkey’. Apple Day by day on this case was the hen and we’re the monkeys. It was a really dramatic present of pressure,” he stated.

However even now, the paper just isn’t holding again.

In Tuesday’s version it doubled down on its criticism, accusing the police of “blatantly bypass[ing] the legislation and abusing their energy” throughout the raid of its places of work.

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Round 200 cops raided the paper’s workplace

It isn’t clear now what lies forward for the paper.

Mr Lai’s arrest, along with that of the paper’s senior editors, “takes away management of the paper, which can create issue for its operation”, stated Dr Nip. However she stated she thought the paper would proceed to function.

It’s definitely not backing down but.

“Hong Kong’s press freedom is now hanging by a thread, however our workers will stay totally dedicated to our responsibility to defend the liberty of the press,” the paper stated in a press release.

“Apple Day by day shall combat on.”