Citizen News, an independent online news site in Hong Kong, stated in a statement posted to its website (pictured) that it would close operations due to a “deteriorating media environment” in the Chinese-ruled capital. Image courtesy Citizen News
Jan. 2 (UPI) —Citizen News, an independent online news site in Hong Kong that was founded in 2017, will cease operations due to what it calls a “deteriorating media climate” in the Chinese-ruled capital.
Citizen News was shut down after police in Hong Kong raided Stand News, a pro democracy news source, and arrested several people under China’s National Security Law. This law was passed in 2020 to stop dissent in the city.
Citizen News reported in English-language statementWebsite will stop updating Tuesday, and will shut down completely later.
“We have not forgotten our original intent. Citizen News stated, “Sadly, we cannot no longer try to turn our beliefs into realities without fear because there has been a sea change in society over two years and a deteriorating media climate.”
“We found ourselves in a critical spot at the heart of a stormy storm.” We must ensure safety and well-being for everyone aboard in the face of crisis.
Hong Kong, a long-standing British colony, was retaken to Chinese sovereignty in 1997. However, it has retained separate governing powers and freedoms as an administrative region within the communist nation.
Pro-democracy activists claim that many of those freedoms have begun to disappear since the passage of the national security laws, especially the freedom of expression.
Saturday was a day of protest for the Chinese state media, which came before Citizen News announced its intention to cease operations.
“The arrest of those suspected of publishing seditious material and the freezing of relevant assets by Hong Kong police enforcement are imperative to preserve law and order and protect peace,” stated a spokesperson for Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office.
According to the official from Hong Kong, press freedom and freedom of speech are still “protected by law”, but that “people should adhere to “the law” when exercising these freedoms.”
According to the official, Stand News journalists had propagated messages in support of Hong Kong independence. This “posed a serious risk to national security” and “posed a threat to social stability.”