More censorship in store for Hong Kong?

This certainly sounds ominous.

Concerns about media censorship were heightened in Hong Kong Sunday when a delegate to China’s legislature said the city’s public broadcaster should be clipped of its independence.

The comments from National People’s Congress member Peter Wong came as the Chinese territory’s Journalists Association accused the city’s new Beijing-appointed leader of paying lip-service to free speech.

Wong, an outspoken supporter of the former British colony’s closer integration into China, stepped into a row over Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) following speculation that political leader Donald Tsang could strip it of its editorial freedom.

Tsang was accused of leaning on the public broadcaster to end its 30-year horse-racing show. Critics said the move was a bad omen for talk-shows and other politically sensitive programming.

Wong said Tsang was right in his action and asserted the broadcaster should become simply a mouthpiece of the government.

“RTHK actually uses public funds and it’s for all sectors of the community, so taking a position against a government issue is not advisable,” he told a public forum.

His comments are likely to infuriate rights activists who gathered in Hong Kong Saturday night for a candle-light vigil in honor of sacked radio talk show host Wong Yuk-man.

Wong, known as Mad Dog, is famous for hosting controversial shows that take pot shots at the Chinese government and supports Hong Kong’s campaign for full democracy.

He was sacked by a commercial channel over a contractual row he claims was politically motivated.

He resigned from a different show last year after claiming to have received violent threats from Chinese officials over his on-air outbursts.

One country, two systems? I sure hope so, because that other system would be the worst thing for Hong Kong. That they think they could pull something like this off without setting off a firestorm of criticism is beyond me. The people of HK won’t just accept this passively – will they?

The Discussion: 47 Comments

“..uses public funds…taking a position against a government issue is inadvisable”

It seems to me that some administrations don’t understand how it is that someone can be doing the work of the government and still criticise the current administration’s policy – the government is a system. The administration is the current people administering the system. The two should not be confused. When they are, we get (trumpets) autocracy and dictatorship, plus very harsh anti-sedition acts and a crackdown on people’s rights.

July 17, 2005 @ 5:32 pm | Comment

It shouldn’t even matter if it’s publicly funded. The BBC is funded by the taxpayer, but it isn’t a mouthpiece of the Labour Party. God forbid if it was!

July 17, 2005 @ 5:40 pm | Comment

Can you imagine China dealing with a show like PBS’ “Frontline,” dedicated almost exclusively to uncovering government sins? And it’s taxpayer funded – and it performs a great service for all of us. The CCP would burn them down.

You are exaclty right, just because it is government funded doesn’t mean a medium shouldn’t be critical of the government.

July 17, 2005 @ 5:46 pm | Comment

“Are you tired of Western democracy? Fed up with no-good-niks diluting the effectiveness of your vote? Do you dream of a world where people are forced to be patriotic whether they like it or not? Then you need:


Hong-Kong brand Chinese democracy is the latest development from CCP International, based in Beijing. For years researchers on the Chinese mainland tried to find a way to reconcile Hong Kong’s democratic British legacy with the autocratic PRC, and now they have this new style of government to sell to you the Hong Kong people.

Hong-Kong brand Chinese democracy is designed to increase your desire for strong government and patriotism by forcing your children to attend flag-raising ceremonies at school. A complex voting system ensures that poor, powerless people’s vote doesn’t count, while you, the richer and therefore obviously better-qualified person to vote, will have more say through dodgy indirect voting. Don’t delay, try it today!

– Hong-Kong brand Chinese democracy may not live up to expectations
– Use may result in loss of freedom of speech and direct governoral elections
– CCP International reserves the right to send the PLA into Hong Kong and beat the crap out of you at any time”

July 17, 2005 @ 6:08 pm | Comment

Don’t be surprised if one day the two systems become one (the “other” one).

Hong kong has become a front end for a handful of Chinese dissidents and lunatics who take advantage of the social freedom and geographical convenience of Hong kong and keep pushing their anti-CCP campaign.

What they are doing now is analogous to what islamic radical preachers and now bombers did in UK. As a result, the muslem community as a whole is punished for the sake of a few bad eggs, the same for the Hong kongers.

July 17, 2005 @ 6:39 pm | Comment

Wait a minute Bing.
You either are trying to cause controversy by making grossly misleading statements or you do not know what you are talking about.
I surmise you are a front for the CCP.

July 17, 2005 @ 6:51 pm | Comment

Yes, I might be trying to cause controversy (forgive me I didn’t know causing controversy is not allowed here) by making statements which I don’t think will mislead anybody on this blog for the reason that few here had ever been swung by others’ opinions before and I’m not an persuading preacher either.

July 17, 2005 @ 7:02 pm | Comment

Bing, controversy is allowed, even welcome here. But what you are saying is pretty offensive. You can say it, but you have to be ready to defend it. Half a million people marched against the CCP two years ago. They didn’t do it to champion some dangerous anti-CCP fanatics. They did it to ensure that the system they were promised would continue, with freedom of expression guaranteed. Freedom of expression for everyone, fanatics, pragmatists, CCP lovers, anarchists and moderates alike.

July 17, 2005 @ 7:15 pm | Comment

“I surmise you are a front for the CCP.”

Yes, I’m. Thank you for pointing that out.

July 17, 2005 @ 7:16 pm | Comment

“Half a million people marched against the CCP two years ago”

Totally agree. I remeber they did that for the anti-subversion law, right?

Why did the CCP want to lay out such a law in the first place? Think about it.

July 17, 2005 @ 7:20 pm | Comment

So did you think the CCP was justified in pushing for its “anti-subversion law”?

July 17, 2005 @ 7:21 pm | Comment

Threatened, they’ve got to find some way to stop some lunatics using Hong kong as a fortress to attack them.

If it were not for TS, they might have just got rid of the mastermind. This time at least they resorted to a law.

One country, two systems. You don’t bother us, we don’t bother you.

July 17, 2005 @ 7:30 pm | Comment

Who defines who is a lunatic? What are your criteria for deciding someone is a lunatic?

July 17, 2005 @ 7:33 pm | Comment

Just personal opinions.

BTW, I don’t mind being called lunatic.

July 17, 2005 @ 7:37 pm | Comment

I find Bing to be a breath of fresh air. He is the most intelligent Chinese poster I have had the good fortune to come across. Bing keep up the rational thought. If China was a free and honest country, I’m sure you would get alot of votes for higher office.

July 17, 2005 @ 8:26 pm | Comment

Sorry for going back on topic, but…RTHK’s dumping of race broadcasts has been well flagged is is pretty popular.

Bing’s right. The CCP do see HK as a potential outlet for subversion. They tried confrontation, which lead to the marches, so now they’re trying co-opting instead, and it’s working much better. Today’s SCMP has James Tien (shudder) spelling out that HK may never get universal suffrage because Beijing is appointing the most popular person. He’s right.

July 17, 2005 @ 9:03 pm | Comment

The idea that Hong Kong is a base for subversives seeking to undermine the glorious leadership of the CCP is simply stupid.

As for why the mainland wanted a draconian anti-subversion law — they wanted it becuase they are authoritarians and the idea that somone, somewhere in their vast empire might be able to speak his mind — in ways in which the authorities would not approve –freely and with no feer of punishment, keeps our overlords awake at night in a cold sweat — as it does with all abusive corrupt dictators who rule without the consent of their subjects.

In short, they wanted it because they are frightened, insecure, little men who know that their “right” to lord it over their fellows and loot the public coffers hangs by a very thin thread indeed.

Were it not for the monstrous crimes on the hands of they and their predecessors, I’d pity them.

July 17, 2005 @ 9:03 pm | Comment

ha! I like Conrad. I may disagree with him sometimes, but he’s the kind of guy that will call you a freaking idiot to your face – I admire that!

Don’t hold back..tell ’em how you really feel!

July 17, 2005 @ 9:21 pm | Comment

A Hong Kong resident journalist is tossed in a mainland jail on secret grounds. A Hong Kong businessman is sentenced to prison for bringing Bibles to the mainland. A Hong Kong Democratic legislator is caught in an obvious Honey trap and trown in jail without trial before the election. The decides to unilaterally rewrite the consititution to chage the chief executives term in office.

And what event brings howls of protest from Hong Kongers worried about the errosion of their precisous freedoms? The removal of live horse racing broadcasting from public radio.

What a city!

July 17, 2005 @ 10:54 pm | Comment

I also heart Conrad.

Though I do encuorage Bing to keep posting for the sake of argument and such

July 17, 2005 @ 11:16 pm | Comment

It’s a Conrad lovefest. Irony?

July 17, 2005 @ 11:21 pm | Comment

Be gentle then. I’m still a little sore from the two Indonesian girls yesterday evening.

July 18, 2005 @ 12:06 am | Comment

Conrad! I thought that like the CCP, you were reforming!

July 18, 2005 @ 12:07 am | Comment


I am reforming, just like the CCP, i.e., losts more words than actions.

Seriously, what could I do? I was sitting at home, minding my own business, when I received an unsolicited SMS solicitation to engage in a threesome. I mean, it would have been rude to say no.

July 18, 2005 @ 12:27 am | Comment

You could have sms’d me; I have lots of Frequent Flyer miles.

July 18, 2005 @ 12:29 am | Comment

As our new Chief Executive explained, after accepting $27 million dollars in campaign contributions from local tycoons (for a race in which he ran unopposed and in which spending is capped at $4 million), I couldn’t turn down the money, it would have been impolite.

July 18, 2005 @ 12:35 am | Comment


I just assumed that a pair of busty Indo girls, was not up your alley. Are these mid-life changes of yours even more extensive than you have indicated?

July 18, 2005 @ 12:37 am | Comment

A busty Indo girl can change a man.

July 18, 2005 @ 12:39 am | Comment

No, you’re right, let’s forget about it. When yu get a more eclectic crowd together let me know.

July 18, 2005 @ 12:40 am | Comment

Conrad, Well said. The whole issue about subversive forces in Hong Kong is way over the top – and the Chinese government knows that. Freedom of speech and freedom of election are blocked in Hong Kong because the CCP doesn’t want similar issues to be raised in China. It is also an effective way of showing Hong Kong people who their real boss is.
Simon, you are correct in pointing out the link between the most popular man and the lack of chances for any universal suffrage in the near future. But taking it out the mouth of James Tien!!! – give me a break. Image how Hong Kong would be like if Mr Tien was elected?!!!
By the way, Simon, the Cane Toads went across the Nullabor on a train, with the Queensland bananas. There are a couple of them found. But they were died – squashed by the bananas, I think…..or not…..

July 18, 2005 @ 1:18 am | Comment

Ok, if I commented anything it would be like an echo chamber in here as I’d be repeating Conrad The Stallion.

“When yu get a more eclectic crowd together let me know” – Richard?

Haha!. Oh dear me.

July 18, 2005 @ 2:17 am | Comment

Conrad says: And what event brings howls of protest from Hong Kongers worried about the errosion of their precisous freedoms? The removal of live horse racing broadcasting from public radio.

Only the issue is not about horse racing. It is about the government having the right to tell a public braodcasting station (or any other station at that) what programs they should and should not show. Who gives a foot about the horse racing? The real quastion is: if it is horse racing today, what will be tomorrow?

It is best not to set a bad precedent, and whether the show in question is about horse racing, Shari Lewis’ “Lambchop”, or anything else, this is one area in which the government should not be calling the shots.

July 18, 2005 @ 2:52 am | Comment

Not all Hong Kong people like horse racing. But they will defend to death their right to do it. In the same token, not all Hong Kong people read more than more newspaper a day. But they would not like to see a single one close down because the government, any government, says that they’ve got to.

July 18, 2005 @ 3:04 am | Comment

“But they will defend to death their right to do it.”

Really, to death?

July 18, 2005 @ 3:23 am | Comment

Many rhetorics posted here are very much reminiscent of CCP’s propaganda.

July 18, 2005 @ 3:25 am | Comment

Bing, you are all right!

July 18, 2005 @ 3:41 am | Comment

I don’t care about the horse racing either. But the facist bastards will take away my God-given right to busty Indonesian girls when they pry my cold dead finders from her susu agung.

July 18, 2005 @ 3:49 am | Comment

Conrad, you’re on fire here. Go baby go!

July 18, 2005 @ 4:39 am | Comment


Absolutey, we all know what the next thing will be – removing shows that make “sedicious” comments, having all presenters “vetted” by the Chinese Secret Service, etc.

Personally, I think David Tang would be a great governor because he believes in HK democracy – and he has a good head for business (well I guess so). Did anyone see him on the special edition of Question Time from Shanghai? He was the only Chinese member of the pannel to admit what goes on in China and to not divert the question away from the real issues.

July 18, 2005 @ 4:53 am | Comment

Basicly, China is trying to destroy what little independence of the media hasn’t already been stripped out of Hong Kong by self censorship, an dthe west isn’t even raising an eyebrow even though they were the ones who handed the teretory over withou establishing firm enough gaurentees.

It saddens me greatly to see Hong Kong bein gslowely overrun like this

July 18, 2005 @ 5:54 am | Comment

Compared to pre-1997, has Hong kong been losing more and more of its independence?

July 18, 2005 @ 6:39 am | Comment

Quite frankly RTHK shouldn’t exist at all. It’s Hong Kong’s Xinhua. Public broadcasting is as big a waste as many as staging equestrian Olympic events.

July 18, 2005 @ 7:57 am | Comment

Fat Cat – it kills me to admit it, but somehow James Tien stumbled upon the truth. It’s a historic event.

As for your cane toad theory, you’ve been listening to RTHK too much.

July 18, 2005 @ 7:59 am | Comment

Teacup in a storm

Over the weekend Richard mentioned the fuss in Hong Kong over media censorship. Today’s SCMP has an op-ed by Michael Chugani, the head of ATV news, on the not so strenuous efforts of those claiming censorship. Naturally Mr Chugani has a barrow to push,…

July 18, 2005 @ 6:43 pm | Comment

James Tien didn’t stumble upon the truth, he is a part of the “plan” and therefore is informed. I’m not a supporter of the most popular man. So don’t get me wrong. I don’t think that appointing someone from the civil services as Chief Executive is good for HK. This signals an end to a very efficient and impartial civil administrative system, which has always been a stabling factor for HK.
The Cane Toad story is fact not theory or fiction. You’ve been away from home for too long.
As for RTHK, I am not informed enough to comment. So like you, I’m away from home for too long.

July 18, 2005 @ 8:26 pm | Comment

What I see the real danger for single party states (such as the CCP in China) is that they confuse the government with the State. Consequently they consider opposition (or criticism) of the government as opposition (or criticism) of the State, and there seditious. By this means, they constantly increase the number of people who are opposed to the State (because they have so defined them as such). When things start to unravel (and unraveling quite often happens), there are few left who will attempt to keep the State; hence, it does unravel rather quickly.

July 18, 2005 @ 9:19 pm | Comment

I cannot imagine circumstances whereby the central government will voluntarily grant Hong Kong universal sufferage and, given the statist tendencies of of our great unwashed nontaxpaying public housing residing residents, that’s fine by me.

July 20, 2005 @ 3:50 am | Comment

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