June 24, 2021
Today, U.S. Senator Ben Sasse introduced a bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal to staff and the editors of Apple Daily for their courage and determination in the face of the Chinese Communist Party’s tyranny.
“The men and women who ran Apple Daily are heroes. Let’s be clear about why they just ran their last issue: Their defense of free thought and speech made them scary to the Chinese Communist Party. They courageously stood up to kangaroo courts and told the truth. The Apple Daily journalists exposed Chairman Xi as a man afraid of the people he seeks to hold down. The free world owes them our gratitude and the least we can do is award them the Congressional Gold Medal.”
Bill text can be found here.
On August 10, 2020, Lai Chee ying (“Jimmy Lai”) was arrested on suspicion of “collaborating with foreign forces” and the offices of Apple Daily were raided by Hong Kong police officers. The charges were brought forth under the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region enacted by the Chinese Communist Party on June 30, 2020. On April 16, 2021, after a sham trial, Lai was sentenced to 14 months in prison for his support of democracy in Hong Kong.
On June 17, 2021, police again raided Apple Daily’s news room, seized journalists’ computers, arrested top editors, and froze $2,300,000 of the paper’s assets. Among the arrested were Next’s chief executive, Cheung Kim hung, and Chow Tat kuen (“Royston Chow”), its chief operating officer, Law Wai kwong (“Ryan Law”), Apple Daily’s chief editor, Cheung Chi wai, the chief executive editor, and Chan Pui man, deputy chief editor.
On June 23, 2021, Apple Daily announced its forced closure due to the current circumstances in Hong Kong. Apple Daily’s lead opinion writer, Yeung Ching kee, who publishes under the name Li Ping was also arrested.
Even amidst the raids and arrests, Apple Daily heroically continued to report on the police operation with reporters writing on their phones after their computers were seized.
Last year, Sasse introduced legislation to grant Hong Kongers asylum in the wake of Beijing’s crackdowns.