The independent Hong Kong news site CitizenNews will be closed on Tuesday. This was announced by journalists from the site on Facebook on Sunday. The raids to which the website Stand News, which shut down last week, was exposed, played a major role in the decision, according to a CitizenNews co-founder. The news site wants to protect its journalists and loved ones from searches and arrests.
Chris Yeung, the co-founder of the independent news platform, has said his medium has done his best not to break any laws, but it is difficult to predict and understand “the contours of law enforcement” in Hong Kong. Although his editors had not yet been approached by the police, he and his people no longer felt safe to do their work in freedom.
The site’s announced closure was welcomed by the nationalist newspaper Global Times. “Like Stand News, CitizenNews also published articles sharply criticizing the central government and the Communist Party of China,” the paper said. He criticized a June article describing the Communist Party as “a dictatorship” that “abuses its power” to get a grip on local government in Hong Kong.
CitizenNews was founded in 2017 by experienced journalists and, according to the AFP news agency, is one of the most popular news sites in Hong Kong with more than 800,000 paying subscribers. Press freedom has been under attack in Hong Kong since Beijing passed a strict security law in 2020. Since then, pro-democracy organizations have been disbanded, activists and journalists have been arrested and independent news media have been shut down.
For example, Apple Daily of media tycoon Jimmy Lai was closed in June. At the end of December, Stand News was also forced to stop. Both closures followed multiple raids, searches and arrests. While the security law says nothing about sedition, Stand News was shut down for “incendiary publications.” Now that CitizenNews is also closing its doors, there is virtually no free media left in Hong Kong.