Hong Kong online news portal Citizen News announced on late Sunday as officials tightens its grip on media freedom across the board.
In a statement published on its Facebook account on Sunday night, the portal said that it will cease operations from Tuesday, January 4th to “ensure everyone is safe in this time of crisis” and its website will also stop being updated and will be shut down soon.
The abrupt decision came just three days after another Hong Kong based news portal ‘Stand News’ shut down as national security police booked seven people who worked at or were linked to the news portal for allegedly publishing anti-China content and stirring up hatred against the government.
“Unfortunately, the changes in society in the past two years and the deterioration of the environment for the media has made it impossible for us to achieve our belief without worries,” Citizen News statement said as it completes 5 years of its operation.
“Being at the eye of the storm, our little boat is in a tremendously rough sea. We have to ensure everyone is safe on this boat in this time of crisis,” it said.
Similar to ‘Stand News’, ‘Citizen news’ also published articles harshly criticizing the central government and also the Communist Party of China, Chinese state media reported.
In an article published in June, it referred to the CPC leadership as “dictatorship” and criticized it for “abusing its power” in controlling the local governance in Hong Kong, a state media report said.
Daisy Li, the chief editor of Citizen News, used to work for infamous now-defunct Apple Daily from between 1997 to 2016, according to the report.
Authorities earlier targeted the tabloid-style Apple Daily newspaper, whose owner Jimmy Lai Chee-ying and six senior employees have been accused of sedition, on top of earlier national security charges on conspiracy to collude with foreign forces.