Speed Reads

free press folds

Another Hong Kong news site shutters amid ongoing crackdown by Beijing

Hong Kong news site Citizen News will cease publication Tuesday as the Chinese Communist Party erodes press freedom in the formerly semi-autonomous enclave, the outlet's founders announced Monday.

According to The Associated Press, Citizen News is the third major outlet to close in recent months. Pro-democracy print newspaper Apple Daily closed its doors in June, and online publication Stand News followed suit last week.

The day before Stand News announced its closure, law enforcement raided the outlet's offices and arrested seven people, including two editors who were later charged with sedition. Apple Daily's former owner, Jimmy Lai, has also been jailed on sedition charges.

Citizen News initially tried to soldier on, hiring many former employees from other publications and even offering to allow interns from shuttered outlets to finish their internships at Citizen News. Ultimately, though, founder Chris Yeung concluded that he had no choice but to close before Hong Kong's new CCP-aligned regime forced him to do so.

"At the center of a brewing storm, we found (ourselves) in a critical situation. In the face of a crisis, we must ensure the safety and well-being of everyone who are on board," a statement from Citizen News read.

The same day Citizen News announced its closure, a slate of 90 pro-Beijing lawmakers were sworn into Hong Kong's Legislative Council (LegCo) after an election last month that saw historically low rates of voter turnout, according to BBC. Only pre-screened, CCP-approved "patriots" were permitted to stand for election.

These electoral policies and crackdowns on freedom of the press are the latest steps in Beijing's campaign to bring Hong Kong, which had been a bastion of freedom within China since it ceased to be a British colony in 1997, into line with the rest of the nation. In 2019, the CCP imposed a strict national security law on Hong Kong, effectively ending the region's decades-long history of self-government.