fredag 25. juni 2021

‘The pressure is unbearable’: final days of Hong Kong’s Apple Daily

On Wednesday morning, the Apple Daily reporter Angel Kwan was at a government press conference for the Hong Kong census when her phone started buzzing with notifications. Six days earlier, hundreds of police had raided her workplace, arrested her bosses and seized dozens of computers. On Monday, the company board had said it would have to shut the paper unless authorities unfroze its finances.

As she stood holding her microphone towards the government official, Kwan did not dare look at her phone and the news it heralded: Apple Daily was shutting down. Today.

“I had the mic and I said, ‘This is a question from Apple Daily’. And then I stopped for a second or two, just thinking: this is my last time saying this.” Speaking to the Guardian from the Apple Daily office, 24-year-old Kwan’s voice cracks. The reporter joined the ranks of Hong Kong’s most vocal and popular pro-democracy newspaper just a year ago. She had received other job offers, and knew what she was getting into. Beijing had just imposed its controversial national security law (NSL) on the city, and authorities had been cracking down on the media for months.