A man holds the final print edition of the Hong Kong pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily out of his car.
Dominic Chiu | SOPA pictures | LightRocket via Getty Images
When asked about the alleged wrongdoing by Apple Daily, Hong Kong Security Secretary John Lee said “We speak of a conspiracy in which the suspects tried to use journalistic work to collaborate with a foreign country or external elements to impose sanctions or hostile activities against Hong Kong” and China.
Apple Daily had come under increasing pressure from the Hong Kong authorities. Its owner, the media magnate Jimmy Lai, is a sharp critic of the Chinese central government. He is now serving a prison term after being arrested under the Security Act.
The national security law came into force last year. Beijing said the law is aimed at Prohibition of secession, undermining state power, terrorist activities and foreign interference.
Chan, who is also assistant assignments editor for online news site The Stand News, said it was worrying that the red lines of the law were not clear. That means independent journalists “have to take some risks” to do their job, he added.
The application of the National Security Law by the Hong Kong authorities has been criticized by some, including the governments of the USA and Great Britain
After the closure of Apple Daily, the British Foreign Secretary said Dominic Raab in a statement that “it is crystal clear that the powers of the National Security Law are used as an instrument to restrict freedoms and punish dissenting opinions – instead of maintaining public order”.
Meanwhile, a European Union spokesman said Apple Daily was closed “seriously undermines media freedom and pluralism” in Hong Kong.