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Editor, CEO denied bail in Apple Day by day case in Hong Kong 

Newsstand workers kind by means of copies of the newest Apple Day by day newspaper earlier than promoting them to prospects in Hong Kong early on June 18, 2021.

ANTHONY WALLACE | AFP | Getty Pictures

HONG KONG (AP) — A Hong Kong court docket ordered the highest editor of pro-democracy newspaper Apple Day by day and the pinnacle of its guardian firm held with out bail Saturday within the first listening to since their arrest two days in the past underneath town’s nationwide safety legislation.

Ryan Legislation, the chief editor, and Cheung Kim-hung, the CEO of Subsequent Digital, have been charged with collusion with a overseas nation to hazard nationwide safety in a case extensively seen as an assault on press freedom within the semi-autonomous Chinese language territory.

Chief Justice of the Peace Victor So mentioned there was not enough grounds to consider they’d not violate the safety legislation once more and ordered them held on the Lai Chi Kok detention heart. He set the subsequent listening to for Aug. 13.

Legislation and Cheung arrived on the court docket in an unmarked white van with coated home windows. A handful of activists held up a banner and copies of the Apple Day by day exterior earlier than the listening to started.

Three others additionally arrested Thursday — two Apple Day by day senior editors and one other government — haven’t been charged but and have been launched on bail late Friday pending additional investigation.

The Apple Day by day has lengthy been one of the crucial outspoken defenders of civil liberties in Hong Kong. It supported large protests demanding extra democracy in 2019 and has criticized the following crackdown, together with the enactment of a nationwide safety legislation final yr.

The central authorities in Beijing has defended the laws and the crackdown on opposition voices as vital to revive order and stability. The 2019 protests that challenged Beijing’s rule usually began as peaceable marches throughout the day however become violent clashes between hard-core demonstrators and police at evening.

Apple Day by day founder Jimmy Lai is presently serving a 20-month jail sentence after being convicted of taking part in a job in unauthorized assemblies — rallies and marches that had not acquired police approval — throughout the 2019 protests. He has additionally been charged underneath the nationwide safety legislation.

The most recent arrests mark the primary time journalists have been focused underneath the brand new legislation, aside from a freelancer who was arrested for pro-democracy actions. A whole bunch of police and safety brokers who raided Apple Day by day’s workplace on Thursday additionally seized 44 laborious drives, and authorities froze $2.3 million of its belongings.

Apple Day by day editor-in-chief Ryan Legislation within the newspaper’s newsroom in Hong Kong on Could 13, 2021.

Isaac Lawrence | AFP | Getty Pictures

Police mentioned the arrests have been based mostly on greater than 30 articles that had appeared within the Apple Day by day because the safety legislation took impact and that had referred to as for worldwide sanctions in opposition to China and Hong Kong.

The safety legislation particularly criminalizes colluding with a overseas nation, establishment, group or particular person to impose sanctions or a blockade in opposition to Hong Kong or China. Critics say Beijing is strolling again on its promise on the 1997 handover of Hong Kong from Britain that town might retain its freedoms not seen elsewhere in China for 50 years.

The U.S. has imposed sanctions in opposition to Chinese language and Hong Kong officers over the crackdown and referred to as for the instant launch of the Apple Day by day editors and executives.

Requested how journalists ought to keep away from getting in bother, Hong Kong Safety Secretary John Lee informed a information convention this week that “the reply is easy: Do your journalistic work as freely as you want in accordance with the legislation supplied you don’t conspire or have any intention to interrupt the Hong Kong legislation and definitely not the Hong Kong Nationwide Safety Legislation.”

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