Hong Kong: Pro-Democracy Online News Outlet Prepares for Potential CCP Takedown

Hong Kong online pro-democracy news outlet Stand News announced five actions to protect its employees, donors, readers, and board members in the event action is taken against it by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on June 27.

The outlet vowed to continue its news reporting, and urged supporters to donate to other independent media, free reporters and commentators, and news organizations who support free speech and press.

This is the first Hong Kong pro-democracy news outlet to announce internal changes after the Chinese regime in June clamped down on Apple Daily, a pro-democracy news outlet and one of the three top-selling Hong Kong newspapers.

Announcement

Stand News announced on Sunday night five actions it would take to respond to “the literary inquisition that has been applied in Hong Kong” and in the event the publication “encounters a fatal disaster” like the one Apple Daily suffered.

NTD Photo
Hong Kong Stand News releases announcement to prepare a government possible crackdown in Hong Kong on June 27, 2021. (thestandnews.com/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

The first action would be deleting all opinion pieces and commentaries from the website, and republishing them after the writers confirm with the outlet that they are OK with the risk.

Second would be stopping the receipt of any more donations and suspending subscriptions. The outlet said its current savings can support the website operating for nine to twelve months.

Third would be urging supporters to donate to other independent media, because “Hong Kong media business needs every donor’s support in the current time of great change.”

Fourth would be the outlet stopping all hiring contracts with its employees who had worked for the outlet for over six months by May. The outlet signed news contracts with the employees who would accept the risks, such as being arrested by the regime.

The fifth action would be removing six board members—Yu Ka-fai, Chow Tat-chi, Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee, Denise Ho Wan-si, Fong Man-sun, and Joseph Lian Yi-zheng. The other two board members, Tony Tsoi Tung-ho and Chung Pui-kuen, would continue working with the news outlet.

The Stand News vowed in the announcement that it would “walk together with Hongkongers, be encouraged by the kindness from every donor and readers, report the news well, write down Hong Kong’s history, and record Hong Kong’s history.”

The Stand News was founded by Tony Tsoi Tung-ho in December 2014, when the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement was coming to a close. The outlet’s primarily reports on pro-democracy and anti-communist Hong Kong news. It’s stated purpose is “Declare our position; stand, don’t hide; don’t avoid or evade; insist on reporting the truth.”

In 2019, Stand News was ranked No. 1 in credibility among online news media in Hong Kong in a survey carried by the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

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Police set up a cordon line outside Apple Daily headquarters in Hong Kong on June 17, 2021. (Kin Cheung,File/AP Photo)

Apple Daily

On June 30, 2020, the CCP’s rubber-stamp legislature passed its controversial Hong Kong National Security Law (NSL).

The next day, over 350 people were reported to have been arrested by police for shouting the pro-democracy slogan “liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times,” or for having the flag of “Hong Kong Independence” in their possession.

Since then, the regime in Hong Kong has used the NSL to detain pro-democracy activists in the city. The Apple Daily incident is the first case of the regime using the law to take out an independent media outlet.

On June 17, the Hong Kong police raided Apple Daily’s headquarters and arrested five directors of the newspaper, including its editor-in-chief. The police claimed that the tabloid had violated the NSL due to its publishing more than 30 articles since 2019 calling for foreign countries to impose sanctions on the Chinese regime and the Hong Kong government.

On the same day, the Hong Kong Security Bureau froze the assets of Apple Daily, worth around HK$18 million (US$2.32 million).

This series of actions directly led to the death of the paper, which announced on June 23 that the June 24 edition would be its last.

According to the South China Morning Post, on June 27, Fung Wai-kong, 57, the editorial writer of Apply Daily English version, was arrested at Hong Kong airport before he could take his flight to leave the city. The regime claimed that Fung had violated the NSL.

From The Epoch Times