HONG KONG (AP) – A Hong Kong online news site said on Sunday it would cease operations due to deteriorating press freedoms, days after police raided and arrested seven people for sedition in another pro-democracy media.
Citizen News announced its decision in a Facebook post on Sunday. He said he would stop updating his site on January 4 and would be shut down afterwards.
“We have always loved this land, but right now we are helpless as we face not only wind and rain, but also tornadoes and huge waves,” he said in a statement.
“We have never forgotten our original intentions, but it is a shame that the rapid changes in society over the past two years and the deteriorating media environment have prevented us from achieving our ideals without worry.”
Citizen News is the third outlet to shut down in recent months, after pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily and online site Stand News. Authorities have switched to silent dissent in the semi-autonomous city, once known as a hub for dynamic media, after Beijing implemented a sweeping national security law following massive pro-democracy protests. democracy in 2019.
The impending shutdown of Citizen News came days after authorities raided Stand News and arrested seven people – including editors and former board members – for allegedly conspiring to publish seditious material. Stand News announced the same day that it would cease operations.
Two of the former Stand News editors were then formally charged with sedition.
In December, the opposition was barred from the elections under a new law that subjects all candidates to a loyalty test, and monuments commemorating the bloody crackdown on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989 were destroyed.
The United States and other Western governments have condemned the diminished press and civil freedoms that Beijing promised to uphold for 50 years after Hong Kong was handed over to Britain in 1997.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam last week defended the raid on Stand News, telling reporters that “inciting other people… could not be tolerated under cover of reporting.”