The Asian American Journalists Association’s Asia Chapter (AAJA-Asia) strongly condemns the arrests of Apple Daily founder, Jimmy Lai, and other journalists and media executives, as well as the raid of Apple Daily’s news office, over alleged violations of Hong Kong’s National Security Law.
The actions by local police constitute an unprecedented attack on the press freedom that for so long had made Hong Kong a model for the region and world. Next Digital, the parent company of Apple Daily, is one of the few remaining Hong Kong media groups openly critical of the Chinese regime.
Adopted in June, the National Security Law’s broad focus bars crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign countries. The legislation has provoked strong concerns internationally over the chilling impact it could have in curbing democracy and civil liberties in the Special Administrative Region.
Mr. Lai, a well-known pro-democracy activist in Hong Kong and a vocal critic of the Chinese Communist Party, was arrested on August 10 and accused of “colluding with foreign forces.” Mr. Lai’s two sons and other Apple Daily media executives were also arrested, while the organization’s news office was raided by at least 200 Hong Kong police officers. ITV freelancer Wilson Li Chung-chak was among the arrested, and other detentions may still be ongoing.
AAJA firmly stands behind Apple Daily’s journalists and Editor-in-Chief Ryan Law who said the paper would continue to be published.
AAJA’s Asia Chapter joins the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA), the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong (FCC) and other local and international organizations in strongly condemning this unprecedented move against press freedom in Hong Kong. We urge Hong Kong’s leaders to uphold the principles of free speech and a free press to promote a healthy, just and informed civil society.
– The AAJA-Asia Board of Directors
The Asia chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) represents members across the Asia-Pacific region, including Hong Kong. It is a diverse, multi-ethnic community of local and international journalists and media professionals committed to supporting a vibrant press in the Asia-Pacific region. We are committed to advancing diversity and inclusion in media organizations, providing training opportunities to members, supporting students interested in journalism and advocating for fair media access.
AAJA is a nonprofit educational and professional organization with more than 1,500 members across the U.S. and Asia.