The pro-democracy Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily will be shutting down on June 24 , one week after the arrest of five of its editors and executives under a year-old national security law.
As The Associated Press reports, the board of directors for the newspaper’s parent company Next Media, said in a statement that its online and print editions would cease production due to ”the current circumstances prevailing in Hong Kong.”
The newspaper had initially said it would continue its reporting. It printed 500,000 copies the day after the arrests, five times more than it usually does. However, Apple Daily reported that management made the decision to shut down out of concern for employee safety as well as staffing issues.
Last week, five editors and executives for Apple Daily were arrested on charges of colluding with a foreign country, with authorities citing over 30 articles that they claimed played a ”crucial part” in foreign countries issuing sanctions against China.
This is the first time that the national security law has been used against journalists for something they published, the AP notes. Under this law, much of the company’s assets were also frozen, with the company’s board of directors requesting that some of its assets be released in order to pay wages earlier this week.
The New York Times notes that Apple Daily’s criticism of authorities has sparked concerns from the Communist Party of China for several decades. Shortly after the new national security law was passed last year, the newspaper’s founder, Jimmy Lai, was arrested at his home.
Lai, 73, was sentenced to 14 months in prison in April on charges of attending and organizing an unlawful protest.