The online media “Standpoint News”, widely seen as the next target after the suspension of Hong Kong’s “Apple Daily”, issued an announcement last night (27), saying that it would suspend accepting new members and sponsorships, take down all blog posts before June this year, resign most of its directors, and rehire its staff after dismissal and compensation. The announcement did not explain the reasons for the decision, but according to our understanding, The Stand analyzed that even if it turns low-profile, there is little chance that the authorities will let The Stand continue to exist for more than a year, so it needs to make early preparations so that it can continue to report truthfully in the future.
The announcement of The Stand begins by stating that in the past year, the Hong Kong SAR Government has “changed the Hong Kong we know”, and that since “literal imprisonment” has come to Hong Kong, The Stand has decided to take five actions in order to protect stakeholders and reduce risks. Among other things, The Stand will suspend sponsorship, monthly membership fee transfers, new memberships and new sponsorship payments in order to prevent The Stand from being “a disaster” and a waste of supporters’ money. The Stand has indicated that it has sufficient financial reserves to cover its expenses for the next nine to 12 months and will seek sponsorship again if needed.
In addition, all blog posts, reprints and reader submissions published in May and before this year will be “temporarily shelved” and appropriate arrangements will be considered for re-publication after confirming with the authors their willingness and risk to continue publishing.
Last month, before the arrest and closure of Apple Daily, the management terminated the employment contracts of employees who had been with the company for more than six months and settled their seniority at an amount higher than the compensation required by law and rehired them on terms no less favourable than before. The announcement pointed out that the vast majority of employees will remain in their jobs, and “The Stand” will also insist on not setting up its own no-go areas in news reporting, and will do its best to report facts and opinions that have news value. Some of the re-signed employees also said that they had nothing to fear since they had stayed after careful consideration.
As for the original eight-member board of directors, six of them, including former legislator Ng Yi Yee, singer Ho Yun-sie, co-founder Yu Ka-fai, former director-general of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service Fong Man-sang, commentator Lin Yi-cheng and Chow Tat-chi, resigned from the board in response to the proposal. The two remaining directors are Choi Tung-ho, who is in a foreign country, and Chung Pui-kuen, who is the editor-in-chief.
According to public information, Standpoint News was re-established in late 2014 by former Mainichi News founder Tsai Tung-ho, and gained notoriety for its live broadcasts during the 2019 campaign against the amendment, subsequently publishing many articles considered pro-democracy and protesters.