Citizen News becomes latest Hong Kong news site to close down

Domestic News

In less than a year, three independent media outlets in Hong Kong — Apple Daily, Stand News, and now Citizen News — have closed due to increased pressure from authorities enforcing the National Security Law.

stand news hong kong
Illustration for SupChina by Derek Zheng

The space for independent, critical news about Hong Kong politics, written and published in the city itself, contracted significantly in the past week.

  • On December 29, pro-democracy outlet Stand News announced that it would cease operations as police arrested seven people affiliated with its publication and later charged two journalists with sedition.
  • Yesterday, just four days later, independent outlet Citizen News announced (in Chinese, English) its closure, citing “the sea change in the society over the past two years and the deteriorating media environment.”
  • Citizen News chief editor Daisy Li (李月華 Lǐ Yuèhuá) said the decision was prompted by concerns about staff safety: “As the chief editor, I’m not able to decide whether this story, that reporting or this quote, if published, will violate the law in this changed environment.”
  • Chris Yeung (楊健興 Yáng Jiànxìng), chief writer at Citizen News, gave similar remarks, explaining that though the outlet had not been approached by law enforcement, the “legal boundaries” for reporting were now unclear.
  • “The trigger point was the fate of Stand News,” Yeung added.

The Stand News and Citizen News closures follow the shutdown of Apple Daily, which had long been the city’s biggest pro-democracy newspaper, last June.

Only a handful of independent media outlets remain in operation in Hong Kong, among them the Chinese-language site InMedia Hong Kong and English-language site Hong Kong Free Press. Another Chinese-language publication, Initium, moved its headquarters from Hong Kong to Singapore last August, though it reportedly still has staff in the city.

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See also:
‘Patriots only’ in Hong Kong public life / From the SupChina 2022 Red Paper
SupChina’s summary of developments in Hong Kong politics in 2021, and trends going into 2022.
How Beijing has muted Hong Kong’s independent media / NYT (paywall)