Ronson Chan: the former Hong Kong editor who is now a delivery driver

Three months ago Ronson Chan was working as deputy assignment editor at Stand News, one of Hong Kong’s independent and pro-democracy news sites. His job involved assigning news stories to the team of reporters, helping set the editorial agenda and running the outlet’s social media posts.

As head of the Hong Kong Journalism Association he had seen up close the fallout from the Beijing media crackdown – closures, arrests, the offshoring of international bureaus.

Then the knock on his door came and his own career was dramatically paused. On the same day, 29 December, his colleagues – including the paper’s editor-in-chief and some board members – were arrested in an early morning national security operation which also saw hundreds of officers raid the newsroom.

Today Chan works as a delivery driver and is among scores of reporters and editors in Hong Kong whose lives are in limbo. To make ends meet he spent the lunar new year driving his car around Hong Kong, making deliveries for a friend’s online retail business.

According to the International Federation of Journalists, about 20 journalists and press defenders have been arrested or detained by law enforcement so far under Hong Kong’s media crackdown, overseen by Beijing and carried out by a police force empowered with new laws and resources. The popular pro-democracy tabloid Apple Daily was forced to close months before Stand News. Independent outlet Citizen News shut its doors just days after. Foreign bureaus have moved staff overseas and correspondents have been denied visas.

Alongside Chan, an estimated 1,000 people have lost their jobs, plus several hundred more in Apple Daily’s Taiwan sister-paper. Many Hong Kong journalists couldn’t find their way back to the industry, and now drive taxis or sell food, Vice reported.

If Chan doesn’t find a new journalism job soon he’ll be forced to give up his role as the head of the journalism association.

“I want to continue on my career path as a…

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