Before sitting down to write this week’s column, I opened a large and tattered, white, padded envelope that had arrived from Hong Kong late last week to find the final issue of the city’s once famously feisty newspaper, the Apple Daily, which was forced by local authorities to shut down for political reasons on June 24.
A Chinese friend had sent it to me from the city long renowned for being efficient and smooth-running. For the month that it took the package to arrive, therefore, I had wondered whether it had been held up for inspection by Hong Kong authorities trying to suppress news abroad of events on the island in recent months. My wariness was only heightened by the condition of the envelope upon its arrival.
I needn’t have worried about my copy of the newspaper, now a sad souvenir, though. It arrived in pristine condition inside of a second, internal envelope whose seal was still intact. The least one can say, though, is that the Hong Kong I have known since the 1990s is anything but.