When the snow melts...
Now is the winter of our discontent... at least, I hope so for that would mean that better times are ahead. But I actually, in fact, worry that what's happened today in Hong Kong is a sure sign that "When the snow melts, it melts quickly".
Put in more blunt terms: it appears that the death of -- if not journalism, then at least independent Chinese language journalism, in Hong Kong is nigh with the announcement this evening by Citizen News -- the largest independent Chinese language media outlet in Hong Kong since the shutting down of Apple Daily (last June) and Stand News (this past Wednesday) -- that it will cease operating from January 4th (i.e., this coming Tuesday). (An English language of the statement can be found here; and, in case its Twitter account gets deleted in the next few days, here's a slightly different translation of the original Chinese statement here courtesy of K Tse.)
As the statement makes clear, the decision to shut down the outlet was due to the deteriorating media environment in Hong Kong, and is aimed at protecting the safety of everyone involved. In other words: it feels obliged to cease operating in a bid to prevent its staff from getting arrested (as has happened with those of Apple Daily and Stand News).
As its statement reminded its reader, back on January 1st, 2017, Citizen News came into being and its first article contained the announcement that: "We all deeply love this place. Let's all remember, happy or sad, alive or dead, this is Hong Kong".
But on January 2nd, 2022, it felt obliged to add the following addendum to that assertion: i.e., "We all love this place, deeply. Regretably, what is ahead of us is not just pouring rains or blowing winds, but hurricanes and tsunamis... At the centre of the 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 [is] on board [our boat]".
I'm saddened by the decision but understand the sentiment and applaud the aim. After all, if you're safe and well, you'll able to live to fight and another day. And no, I wasn't kidding that, these days, many Hong Kongers aim to just live, never mind live well. (This particularly since the survival of cherished institutions, if not individual humans, is truly not to be taken for granted anymore.)
For the record: Citizen News is a primarily Chinese language outlet but it has some work in English, including sterling coverage of the June 12th, 2019, Admiralty incident; the July 21st, 2019, Yuen Long attacks; and the August 31st, 2019, Prince Edward MTR station attacks. At the time of writing, they remain online and viewable. Do so, and save them, if you haven't already! Ditto a condensed version of a report by veteran journalist Ching Cheong entitled "The Fall of Hong Kong: China's strategic plan to conquer Hong Kong and purge it of its people" from March 2021.