A Chinese Author Takes On China

Steven Thompson | 10 September 2014 | Asia Sentinel

How much did Joe Chung anger the Hong Kong and Beijing establishment, and what were the results?

Chung was one of the most controversial authors on the popular but now-defunct House News, a Hong Kong-based news website and content aggregator founded by former radio personality Tony Tsoi and others to cover covers politics, business, lifestyle, media, and local news.

Tsoi abruptly killed the site on July 26 despite a readership of 300,000 unique visitors a day. He has been incommunicado since.  However, in a notation on the website, he said he and his family were under pressure and that he was particularly fearful of what he called the White Terror.

Some observers credit Chung’s aggressiveness as one of the factors in the closure. Among other articles, his allegations of academic plagiarism of Xi Jinping’s PhD were believed to have caused House News to be shut down for several days due to hacking allegedly carried out by Chinese hackers.

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Hong Kong Newspaper Prints Fake Obituary of Rival’s Owner

Mike Forsythe and Alan Wong | 14 August 2014 | New York Times 

It was the journalistic equivalent of putting a horse’s head in your rival’s bed. Lai Chee-ying, 65, also known as Fatty Lai and a native of Shunde in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, had died of AIDS and cancer on Aug. 7. Since his family members were also sick, there would be no funeral.

So read the full-page obituary, in boldface Chinese characters, on page A7 of the Chinese-language Oriental Daily on Thursday. Although one character in the man’s name had been switched to another one with the same sound, the other biographical detailsmatched those of Jimmy Lai, owner of a rival newspaper, Apple Daily, and a well-known supporter of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. There was no indication that it was a paid advertisement. It offered condolences to the employees of “Two Media.” In Chinese, Apple Daily’s parent company uses characters whose literal translation is “One Media.”

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Human Rights Watch: No News Is Bad News in Hong Kong

4 August 2014 | Human Rights Watch

If Hong Kong is left with a press that only the Chinese government likes, everyone loses. The business community relies on the free flow of information to make function effectively, Hong Kong people are accustomed to news from a variety of perspectives, and Beijing itself will not be able to accurately ascertain local developments.  A few years ago, it seemed inconceivable that the vibrant Hong Kong media could be strong-armed into obedience. But it now seems disturbingly possible that a few years from now we might not even know an outlet like House News had ever existed. 

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Why America Must Stand Up for Hong Kong’s Democracy Movement

Mike Gonzalez | 17 July 2014 | The Heritage Foundation

Loath to become the world’s policeman, the Obama administration has turned instead into its fireman. Hither and thither, the administration runs to different corners of the world trying to put out fires—today Central America, tomorrow Jerusalem, next week Syria. Such an approach may rack up air miles for the Secretary of State, but clearly, it’s no substitute for a preventive blueprint that safeguards our national interest.

As it happens, one part of the world experiencing a mini–flare up—Hong Kong—affords us an opportunity to pursue a long-term strategy pertaining to a much larger actor: China. Our foreign-policy challenges would ease considerably if China became a normal, status-quo country with elections, free markets and checks and balances that its leaders could use to manage internal tensions.

Allowing the 7.1 million people of Hong Kong to practice real democracy would let the authorities in Beijing see up close that there’s nothing to fear from a sovereign people. Over time, familiarity with democratic practices in this one Chinese city would help China’s leaders acquire for themselves the frame of mind needed to begin to introduce universal suffrage on the mainland itself.

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Hong Kong Journalists Association: Press freedom under siege: Grave threats to freedom of expression in Hong Kong

July 2014 | Hong Kong Journalists Association

“The Director of China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Wang Guangya, also reportedly called on the media delegates to increase their coverage of opposition to the pan-democrat Occupy Central movement—a plan to occupy parts of the Central business district if the Hong Kong government fails to come up with a genuinely democratic proposal for electing the chief executive by universal suffrage in 2017.”

“Columnist Edward Chin, an active supporter of the Occupy Central movement and a hedge fund manager, said he had received advice from an editor in February 2014 to write only on financial matters. This was the first time in eight years that he was told what to write. He made the issue public and refused to compromise. His columns continue to be published in the same vein as before he received the advice.”

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Shenzhen court gives Hong Kong publisher Yiu Man-tin 10-year prison sentence

Angela Meng | 8 May 2014 | SCMP

“It’s a persecution of intellectuals for their words and a blow to Hong Kong’s freedom of speech and press.”

A Shenzhen court sentenced Hong Kong publisher Yiu Man-tin to 10 years in jail yesterday for “smuggling ordinary goods”, his lawyer said.

The retired engineer-turned-publisher, 73, who is also known as Yao Wentian, was detained on October 27. Prior to his arrest he had been preparing to publish a book entitled Godfather Xi Jinping by dissident and writer Yu Jie, according to his family and friends.

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Hong Kong Publisher’s Prison Sentence Is Called a Political Vendetta

Chris Buckley | 7 May 2014 | New York Times

HONG KONG — Rejecting defense arguments for leniency, a court in southern China sentenced a Hong Kong publisher to 10 years in prison on Wednesday for smuggling industrial chemicals. The family and supporters of the publisher, Yiu Mantin, has said the charges were a political vendetta brought on by his plans to publish a book condemning the Chinese Communist Party leader, Xi Jinping.

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Congressional-Executive Commission on China: Prospects for Democracy and Press Freedom in Hong Kong

3 April 2014 | Congressional-Executive Commission on China

Under China’s “one country, two systems” policy, Hong Kong residents enjoy greater freedom and autonomy than people in mainland China, including freedoms of speech, press, and religion. China has stated it intends to allow Hong Kong residents to elect their Chief Executive by universal suffrage for the first time in 2017 and to elect Hong Kong’s Legislative Council by universal suffrage in 2020. As Hong Kong’s government contemplates electoral reform in the run-up to the 2017 election, concerns are growing that China’s central government will attempt to control the election by allowing only pro-Beijing candidates to run for Chief Executive. Concerns over press freedom have also grown in the wake of several incidents in which journalists have been violently attacked or fired.

The roundtable featured two prominent advocates for Hong Kong democracy, Martin Lee and Anson Chan, who examined the prospects for Hong Kong’s democratic development.

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