The recent closure of Apple Daily is causing concern in the Nordic region and editors have joined forces in protest against China’s denial of press freedom in Hong Kong. Four Nordic newspapers, including Danish daily Politiken which took initiative, have signed a critical letter addressed to Chinese President Xi Jinping and published it on the front page on Thursday in connection with the anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party.
BT reports that the Norwegian newspaper Aftonposten, the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter and the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat also published the letter on the front page.
The letter begins with the following:
“To the People’s Republic of China. It has been too much for a long time. Now, enough is enough. The world can no longer passively watch China gradually suck the air out of press freedom in Hong Kong.”
The editors-in-chief write that they had hoped that the Chinese authorities would live up to assuring that fundamental democratic rights would be defended and preserved in Hong Kong. But they now believe that hope has faded while their fears and contempt have been growing.
“Unfortunately, the last – perhaps naive” hope was definitely extinguished when the free newspaper Apple Daily collapsed under the violation of freedom of the press by the authorities. We watch with growing concern as our profession – free, independent, and critical journalism – is criminalized. And we watch with growing concern as this development affects one media outlet after the other, most recently Apple Daily, in the Hong Kong that once held so much promise. Before that, it was Radio Television Hong Kong that was placed under the control of the authorities, while the police were granted new powers to censor the internet,” the editors write.
Chinese authorities have cracked down on the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong since China introduced a new security law last summer. Apple Daily was published for the last time Thursday and referred in connection with the closure to the safety of employees. It was a popular tabloid newspaper that mixed pro-democracy views with gossip about well-known and investigative power-critical journalism.
“It is now – on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party – that the People’s Republic of China must live up to its name as a republic for the people and not just its rulers,” the letter states.
In the letter, the editors Christian Jensen, Trine Eilertsen, Peter Wolodarski, and Kaius Niemi call for people to unite. “One can hold back truth and freedom by force. But only for a time. We must stand together to show that the power of enlightenment always wins in the end. We must stand together to show that information that may be censored in Hong Kong will emerge somewhere else in the world. We must stand together,” the letter states.
Read the full letter in English here