News organizations in Hong Kong are shutting down.

In December 2021, Stand News, a Hong-Kong based nonprofit news website, was forced to shut down after Hong Kong police arrested six former and current executives of the company. The closure followed the shutdown of Apple Daily, a pro-democracy newspaper, in June 2021. Among the executives arrested from Stand News was acting chief editor Patrick Lam as well as singer Denise Ho and lawyer Margaret Ng, both of whom were board members. Ronson Chan, the deputy assignment editor for Stand News and chair of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, live-streamed the raid briefly before being told to stop by police. Over 200 police officers raided the offices on a warrant to seize any journalistic materials, carting out boxes of computers and cellphones. 

Steve Li, the Senior Superintendent at the Hong Kong Police Force, justified the seizures and arrests by stating that Stand News had published “seditious materials.” These shutdowns increased the pressure on reporters in Hong Kong as China works to revamp the organizations in the region to fit with the laws of mainland China. In a statement from the Hong Kong Journalists Association, the association called on the city’s government to protect the freedom of press in compliance with the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution. “The Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) is deeply concerned that the police have repeatedly arrested senior members of the media and searched the offices of news organizations containing large quantities of journalistic materials within a year,” the  association stated. In a recent survey, 84 percent of journalists said that the environment for the press had changed for the worse in 2021. With Beijing’s crackdown on news organizations in Hong Kong, the journalism climate of Hong Kong may steadily worsen.

By: Alex Zhu