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The director of the media rights NGO warned that more must be done to "defend what's left of the free press in Hong Kong" after Hong Kong's largest pro-democracy paper was forced to shut down.
The press freedom advocacy group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) marched through the streets of Paris and Berlin on Friday to protest the closure of the Hong Kong daily Apple Daily after Hong Kong's Beijing-backed authorities froze the paper's assets and arrested several executives.
The NGO said on their website that they held "funeral-style processions" to denounce the "killing" of Apple Daily by the Hong Kong government, and to "raise alarm of the threats" posed by China to press freedom globally.
In Paris, RSF placed a coffin and funeral flowers for the Hong Kong paper in front of the Chinese embassy. At the same time, they buried copies of the newspaper in front of the embassy in Berlin.
RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said, "today's funeral is for Apple Daily, but tomorrow's may be for press freedom in China. It's time for the international community to act in line with their own values and obligations and defend what's left of the ,free press in Hong Kong before China's model of information control claims another victim."
Apple Daily was forced to shut its operations from this coming Saturday after police froze $2.3 million (€1.9 million) in assets. Police also raided the paper's office.
Its final edition was published on Thursday. Approximately 1 million copies of the final edition were sold, well above the typical 80,000.
The paper has increasingly criticized Chinese and Hong Kong officials, while supporting the pro-democracy movement. It called itself a "victim of tyranny" in its last issue.
RSF ranked Hong Kong 80th out of 180 countries for press freedom in its latest World Press Freedom index.
kbd/wmr (dpa, AFP)