Source: China Heritage (June 24, 2021)
Apple Daily, ‘The Four Noes’ & the End of Chinese Media Independence
By Lee Yee; introduced, translated, and annotated by Geremie R. Barmé
Hong Kong Apostasy
This is the second part of an envoi written for Apple Daily, until this day, 24 April 2021, the leading independent media outlet in Hong Kong, by Lee Yee, a renowned essayist, editor and journalist. In the conclusion to the first part of his farewell, published in China Heritage under the title ‘Lee Yee on the Demise of Jimmy Lai’s Apple Daily’, Lee wrote:
Regardless of how it has all ended up, there is no doubt that the advent of Apple Daily in Hong Kong represented something significant in the history of Chinese newspaper publishing. It showed that a businessman could actually run a news enterprise more successfully than the usual kind of literati figure. Perhaps, I dare say, its success could be compared to the glory days enjoyed by L’Impartial [aka, Ta Kung Pao] under the editorship of Zhang Jiluan [張季鸞, 1888-1941] from 1926. ‘The Four Noes’ editorial principle that Zhang championed — no to giving in to unquestioning political bias; no to accepting government money or patronage; no to serving narrow vested interests instead of the broader society; and, no to giving in to fashion, conspiracies, mass sentiment and popular prejudice — became a model and guide for Chinese media.
Below, in part two of Lee Yee’s memoir the writer elaborates on what he meant when he said:
‘The owner of Apple Daily might not have known about the “Four Noes” but, then again, he only ever managed to put some of them into practice.’
The second part of Lee Yee’s essay on Jimmy Lai and Apple Daily was published in the print and electronic versions of the last edition of Apple Daily, one million copies of which were printed in the early hours of 24 June 2021. Copies of the paper were soon snapped up by readers in one of the city’s final acts of collective civil protest against Beijing and its Hong Kong puppet regime.
I am, as ever, grateful to Lao Lee for permission to translate his work. Continue reading