Jan 3, 2022 - World

Independent Hong Kong news outlet closes amid crackdown on press freedoms

Citizen News chief editor Daisy Li (L) and chief writer Chris Yeung (R) at a press conference in Hong Kong on Jan. 3.
Citizen News chief editor Daisy Li and chief writer Chris Yeung at a press conference in Hong Kong on Jan. 3. Photo: Bertha Wang/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong's Citizen News, an independent online news outlet, announced Sunday it will close days after a separate pro-democracy media outlet was shuttered last week, according to AP.

Why it matters: Citizen News is now at least the third Hong Kong news outlet to close in a matter of months as China tightens its grip on the once semi-autonomous city by cracking down on rights and freedoms previously enjoyed by those living there.

  • Stand News, a pro-democracy news outlet, was forced to close last week after police raided its newsroom, froze its financial assets and charged at least seven of its workers with conspiracy to print seditious material, according to Reuters.

What they're saying: “We have never forgotten our original intent," Citizen News said in a Facebook post translated by AP.

  • "Sadly, we can no longer strive to turn our beliefs into reality without fear because of the sea change in the society over the past two years and the deteriorating media environment," it added.

The big picture: Apple Daily News, a major pro-democracy newspaper, was forced to shut down in June 2021 after Hong Kong police froze $2.3 million of its assets and arrested five senior executives under China's national security law.

  • Jimmy Lai, the founder of Apple Daily News and a pro-democracy activist, was arrested in December 2020 under a Hong Kong national security law imposed by Beijing earlier that year and sentenced to prison in April 2021.
  • He and several other pro-democracy politicians and activists were given additional prison time added to their sentences in May 2021.

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