© Reuters. A man gestures as he brings copies of the final edition of Apple Daily, published by Next Digital, to a news stand in Hong Kong, China June 24, 2021. REUTERS/Lam Yik

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan condemned the closure of Hong Kong’s most vocal pro-democracy newspaper the Apple (NASDAQ:) Daily on Thursday as “political oppression” of the Chinese-run city’s media, saying it sounded the death knell for freedom of speech and the media.

The paper printed its last edition on Thursday after a stormy year in which its tycoon owner and other staff were arrested under a Beijing-imposed new national security law in Hong Kong, and its assets frozen.

Taiwan’s China policy-making Mainland Affairs Council, in a statement on the Apple Daily’s closure, said it felt “extreme regret and solemnly condemned” the fact that Hong Kong media has been unable to operate due to “political oppression” brought about by the national security law.

“This unfortunate incident has not only sounded the death knell for freedom of press, publication, and speech in Hong Kong, but has also allowed the international community to see for themselves the Communist Party regime’s totalitarianism and autocracy,” it said on Thursday.

“The human pursuit of freedom and democracy and other universal values ​​will not be ended by history, but history will always record the ugly face of those in power suppressing freedom.”

Hong Kong has become another source of tension between Taipei and Beijing, especially after Taiwan lambasted the new security law that Beijing imposed on Hong Kong and began welcoming Hong Kong people to settle on the democratic island.

China claims Taiwan as its own territory.

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