On Thursday, four staff members from the now-shuttered pro-democracy newspaper, Apple Daily, were denied bail in a Hong Kong court. The four have been accused of colluding with foreign forces under Hong Kong’s National Security Law, or NSL, in its pursuit of absolute censorship.
Hong Kong police, who typically keep anonymous those under investigation, said late Wednesday that they had charged four individuals, aged 51 to 57. Public broadcaster RTKH reported national security judge Victor So rejected their bail applications because there was not enough evidence to show that the defendants will not commit further acts endangering national security.
The denial came a day after Hong Kong police arrested Lam Man-Chung, the editor-in-chief of the pro-democracy newspaper founded by longtime Acton friend, Jimmy Lai.
According to Reuters, Man-Chung was detained at his house Tuesday morning on suspicion of “conspiring to collude with foreign countries or foreign forces to endanger national security.”
His is the latest arrest for violating Hong Kong’s National Security Law. If the NSL is left uncontested, it will enable the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP, to further restrict freedom of speech and press in China. Hong Kong officials have cited the NSL to defend their investigations and arrests, insisting dozens of Apple Daily’s articles may have violated it, and proper action must be taken.
When the NSL was first passed in June 2020, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam defended its purpose, saying that “safeguarding national security is the constitutional duty of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.”
Next Digital, the corporation founded by Jimmy Lai and the publisher of Apple Daily, has not commented on the most recent arrest.
On June 24, Hong Kong police raided the headquarters of Apple Daily and froze all major assets, forcing the news service to shut down its business and publishing. Ever since, any remnant of Jimmy Lai, has been forcibly destroyed in order for CCP to remain in complete control. This has gone so far as the recent story of the librarian who was suspended from her job for promoting non-political writings from Jimmy Lai.
Every arrest and infringement of basic human rights continues to serve as a reminder to individuals outside of China the reality that the Chinese people are forced to face every day. Every arrest the CCP makes with those affiliated with Apple Daily revives the memory of Jimmy Lai and his hand in China’s pro-democracy movement.
The CCP uses fear to suppress freedom. It will take bravery and sacrifice to stand up to the CCP’s reign of terror.