- On Sunday, a Hong Kong online news site announced its closure just days after police raided a separate pro-democracy news outlet and arrested seven people for sedition.
In the wake of deteriorating press freedoms, a Hong Kong online news site announced its closure on Sunday, just days after police raided and arrested seven people for sedition at a separate pro-democracy news outlet.
Citizen News announced on Facebook on Sunday. It stated that it would stop updating its website on January 4 and then be shut down.
“We have always loved this land,” it said in a statement, “but we are helpless right now because we are not only facing wind and rain but also tornadoes and huge waves.”
“We’ve never forgotten our original intentions, but it’s a shame that the rapid changes in society over the previous 2 years, as well as the deterioration of the media environment, have prevented us from achieving our ideals without fear.”
Following pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily and online news site Stand News, Citizen News is the third news outlet to close in recent months. After massive pro-democracy protests in 2019, Beijing implemented a sweeping national security law, which has silenced dissent in the semi-autonomous city, which was once known as a hub for vibrant media outlets.
Officials raided Stand News and arrested seven people for allegedly conspiring to publish seditious material, including editors and former board members. Stand News also announced its closure on the same day.
Later, two former Stand News editors were charged with sedition.
Due to a new law requiring all candidates to pass a loyalty test, the opposition was barred from running in the December elections, and monuments commemorating the bloody 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown in Beijing were demolished.
Following Hong Kong’s 1997 handover from the United Kingdom, the United States and other Western governments have condemned Beijing’s erosion of press and civil liberties, which Beijing promised to protect for 50 years.
Last week, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam defended the raid on Stand News, informing reporters that “inciting other individuals… under the guise of news reporting could not be condoned.”