Two officials of the pro-democracy daily Apple Daily, very critical of Beijing, appeared on Saturday before a Hong Kong court which refused their release on bail, the day after their indictment under a law on the national security.
Editor-in-chief Ryan Law and managing director Cheung Kim-hung are being sued for “colluding with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security” over a series of articles.
This is the first time that political opinions published in a media have been prosecuted under the “national security” law. Imposed by Beijing in 2020, this very controversial text aims to stifle all dissent in Hong Kong, after the pro-democracy movement.
Apple Daily has been a long-standing supporter of this movement, which was very popular on the island in 2019, especially by young people. Five officials were arrested. Two were charged while the other three were released on bail pending further investigation.
Other media now fear the same fate. Hong Kong continues to slide down the annual ranking of the NGO Reporters Without Borders on press freedom, rising to 80th place this year