Taiwan Apple Daily head office (by Solomon203 via Wikimedia Commons)

On June 23, the pro-democracy news outlet Apple Daily Hong Kong shut down after 26 years due to its inability to pay staff after the Hong Kong government froze the company’s assets.

Since the passing of the National Security Law (NSL) in June of last year, Apple Daily’s parent company Next Digital and its owner Jimmy Lai have been targeted by the Hong Kong government for their political views and their role in the 2019 pro-democracy protests.

Jimmy Lai is currently serving a jail term for his participation in an unauthorized protest. He awaits trial on additional charges that could result in a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Read also: Hong Kong Police Raided Apple Daily Newspaper HQ, Arrested 5 Executives

Will Hong Kong’s Free Media Be Banned? – How The Crackdown on Free Speech in the Former British Colony Is Intensifying

In spite of that, today (June 24) Apple Daily Taiwan released a short statement saying that it will continue to operate “as normal”.

“Hong Kong’s Apple Daily faced external pressure that it could not withstand,” the statement reads, “and on June 24 it issued its last paper.”

Apple Daily Taiwan went on to reassure the public that it is financially independent from its sister-paper and is unaffected by the situation in Hong Kong.

“Each Next Digital subsidiary has independent finances. The operations of Apple Daily Taiwan Online are not affected.”

Apple Daily Taiwan’s print edition shut down last May after 18 years. The company’s management stated that it was no longer commercially viable. The paper employs around 500 people for its online edition.

This morning, Apple Daily Hong Kong’s last edition of 1 million copies was sold out. People across the city were seen lining up to buy the newspaper in a sign of defiance against the government’s intensifying crackdown on free speech and the free press.

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