A Hong Kong online news site said on Sunday it would cease operations due to deteriorating press freedoms, days after police raided and arrested seven people for sedition in another outlet. pro-democracy.

Citizen News announced its decision in a Facebook post on Sunday. He said he would stop updating his site on January 4 and would be closed thereafter.

“We all love this place, deeply. Unfortunately, what awaits us is not just torrential rains or high winds, but hurricanes and tsunamis, ”he said in a statement.

“We never forgot our original intention. Unfortunately, we can no longer strive to turn our beliefs into reality without fear due to the drastic change in society over the past two years and the deteriorating media environment. . “

Citizen News is the third outlet to shut down in recent months, after pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily and online site Stand News. Authorities have moved to silence dissent in the semi-autonomous city, once known as a hub for vibrant media, after Beijing implemented sweeping national security law following massive protests in its favor. . democracy in 2019.

The impending shutdown of Citizen News came days after authorities raided Stand News and arrested seven people – including editors and former board members – for allegedly conspiring to publish seditious material. Stand News announced the same day that it would cease operations.

Two of the former Stand News editors who were arrested were later formally charged with sedition.

A protester holds a sign reading “Support press freedom in Hong Kong” outside the Bank of China in Taipei, Taiwan on December 30, a day after authorities raided Stand News. (Chiang Ying-ying / The Bharat Express News)

In December, the opposition was barred from the elections under a new law subjecting all candidates to a loyalty test, and monuments commemorating the bloody crackdown on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989 were destroyed.

The United States and other Western governments have condemned the diminished press and civil freedoms that Beijing promised to uphold for 50 years after Hong Kong was handed over to Britain in 1997.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam last week defended the raid on Stand News, telling reporters that “inciting other people… could not be tolerated under cover of reporting.”