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Hundreds queue for latest issue of the Daily Apple

In its latest issue, the pro-democracy newspaper said it was a “victim of tyranny”. One million copies of the publication sold out before noon.

Hundreds of Hong Kongers queued to buy the latest print edition of the pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily on Thursday.

In its last issue, the tabloid, which existed for 26 years, said it was a “victim of tyranny”.

The final print run was one million copies, more than the usual 80,000, and sold out by mid-morning. The newspaper announced it was shutting down after police froze $2.3 million (€1.9 million) in assets last week, raided its offices and arrested five editors and managers.

The media company has increasingly spoken out in recent years, drawing the ire and attention of the authorities. Apple Daily has often criticized the Chinese and Hong Kong authorities for restricting freedoms that do not exist in mainland China, accusing them of failing to keep their promises to protect the semi-autonomous territory for 50 years after it was return by Britain in 1997.

Protests draw attention to newspaper

Attention to the newspaper has increased following a wave of mass protests in 2019 in response to a law allowing extradition to mainland China. Although implementation of the extradition law has put on hold, protesters continue to take to the streets to demand more guarantees for Hong Kong’s right to autonomy.

Meanwhile, the Taiwanese version of Apple Daily said it would continue to work.

Last year, Beijing introduced a sweeping national security law that critics say has used to crack down on dissent.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic tweeted that the law was being used to restrict free speech. He said the forced closure of the newspaper meant “a chilling campaign on their part to silence all dissenting voices.”

The new scope of the National Security Act

Although there are still pro-democracy media outlets in Hong Kong, Apple Daily is the only such newspaper left in the city. More than 100 people stood outside its offices on Wednesday night to show their support, take photos and speak words of encouragement.

The arrests, which led to the closure of the newspaper, are the first time national security laws have used against a journalist because of the content he or she publishes. More than 100 people have detained under the security laws, including Apple Daily founder Dawn.

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