Term Paper: Lost Identity of Hong Kong

Pages: 12 (3958 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: History - Asian  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] Hence, China can do or undo any rules and promises it previously made to the Hong Kongers. China can very easily use its legal documents and texts to justify its actions. Leaders worldwide have now begun to show their concern over the media change in Hong Kong. It is highly essential for Hong Kong to maintain its media identity since it greatly relies on it. Despite China's promise to the mass population of Hong Kong regarding their freedom of press and expression, Hong Kong today is an entirely different place than it was before the hand over. According to Lin Neumann, "The climate of free expression in Hong Kong has shifted in subtle but distinct ways: In the vibrant Hong Kong press, self-censorship has become a fact of life. Newspapers owned by powerful business leaders with wide-ranging economic interests in China have become less willing to criticize Beijing" (Press Freedom Under The Dragon). Hong Kong's journalists are greatly left in suspicion about what will happen to Hong Kong's media. One of the journalist commented that, "We don't know the Chinese bottom line yet. I think Hong Kong journalists will be learning the Chinese bottom line" (Lin Neumann, Press Freedom Under The Dragon).

Many people believe that China has no interest what so ever in the media and press freedom of Hong Kong as long as the economy of the country is resonant. C.H. Tung is greatly inspired by Singapore's leader named Lee Kwan Yew, who has no interest in the freedom of media and leading his country towards prosperity.

Yew may signal more than just disinterest in free expression, presaging harsh treatment of independent journalists. Lee, the architect of Singapore's rise to prosperity through stern governance and laissez-faire economics, is the principal proponent of the view that a free press is incompatible with Asian values. Lee has been openly critical of Hong Kong's democrats (Lin Neumann, Press Freedom Under The Dragon).

For many years, Singapore has been the center of misfortune for many journalists.

Two Hong Kong-based regional publications, the Far Eastern Economic Review and The Asian Wall Street Journal have been periodically banned, and their reporters have been sued or barred from the country in disputes with Singaporean officials. In Singapore, journalists may even be prosecuted not simply for critiques of government leaders, but for the publication of mundane, accurate trade statistics prior to their authorized release by the government (Lin Neumann, Press Freedom Under The Dragon).

Many Hong Kongers are now convinced about the restriction of media and freedom of press by the Chinese government. Despite people's fears, no efforts are being made by the Chinese government to preserve Hong Kong's identity from being lost.

What is emerging from these changes may be a corporatist model in which an entrenched business elite, backed by a powerful overseer in China and led by Tung, is guaranteed an electoral majority. In such a model, it is not difficult to envision attacks on press freedom or civil liberty easily passing a parliament with only a nominal opposition presence. Regardless of the promises enshrined in the agreements that govern the hand over and the transition to the new Chinese Hong Kong, it seems certain that the press will become less free, more cautious. The feeling we have is of inevitability, Freedom of the press will be cut back (Lin Neumann, Press Freedom

Under The Dragon).

Daisy Li, former editor at the Chinese Language Ming Pao Daily believe that her newspaper, which once gallantly voiced the happenings in Hong Kong, has now gone soft. Great emphasis on censorship is being laid as far as freedom of press is concerned. Jimmy Lai, an advocate of the Hong Kong's freedom of press suffered a lot as a result of openly publishing against Tung.

Beijing has already expressed its distaste for Hong Kong's independent journalism in the case of media magnate Jimmy Lai. The flamboyant millionaire has built a media empire in a very short time by combining investigative reporting with the flash of tabloid journalism and a reputation for no-holds-barred criticism of China. Lai is the sole owner of both the Chinese-language Apple Daily, the No. 2 daily newspaper in Hong Kong, and Next, the territory's leading weekly magazine. Some analysts believe that Lai is being punished indirectly not by Beijing but by one of Hong Kong's most powerful capitalists, Li Ka-shing. According to this theory, Li, who has vast holdings in Hong Kong and China, exacted revenge on Lai for publishing exposes about the tycoon's personal life and examining some of his business dealings in China.

Publisher Yeung would only note of Li Ka-shing that none of his many companies would advertise with Jimmy Lai's publications (Lin Neumann, Press Freedom

Under The Dragon).

The changed identity of Hong Kong is a direct result of changes in the freedom of press. Before the hand over, the British's definition of freedom of press occluded the media's rights to slur the queen. Today this restriction has a new meaning to it, which is clearly defined only by the Chinese government. The new law is as follows,

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People's

Government, or theft of state secrets, to prohibit foreign political organizations or bodies from conducting political activities in the Region, and to prohibit political organizations or bodies of the Region from establishing ties with foreign political organizations or bodies. The implications of a conservative application of this law by state that actively persecutes pro-democracy movements is deeply concerning, particularly for those Hong Kong journalists whose interests extend beyond the purely commercial (Regulation Of The Media: Hong Kong).

For a very long time, Hong Kong maintained its reputation for being a place where no government control was exercised on journalists and journalism. It is an innkeeper of magazines, newspapers and broadcasters. It also owns many private media organizations such as, "Radio Television Hong Kong, and China's official news agency, Xinhua, Rupert Murdoch's Star-TV, Television Broadcasts Limited, Asia Television, the Oriental Daily and the Apple Daily" (Regulation Of The Media: Hong Kong). Despite being a resource center of Asia, Hong Kong no longer maintains its complete freedom of press.

China is extremely sensitive to stories that might cause potential conflict with PRC's central government, and subsequent mainland distribution. The Hong Kong Marie

Clare magazine recently pulled a feature story on Tibet, already printed in its French edition, for fear of jeopardizing mainland sales. After criticism from Beijing of the BBC's reporting of China-related issues, Murdoch dropped the BBC from Star-TV's

China broadcasts (Regulation Of The Media: Hong Kong).

The thought that now pervades the minds of many Hong Kongers is related to the future of human rights and democracy in Hong Kong. They are now convinced that the culture and identity of Hong Kong rests not upon its citizens but on the government of China. The promises that China made to the Hong Kongers regarding their freedom of press is now termed as illusory.

On May 31, 1996, China's top spokesperson on Hong Kong provided the first preview of media rights in the post-1997 era. In a CNN interview, Lu Ping, Director of China's

Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office announced: there will certainly be Freedom of the press after 1997. They can criticize the government. They can object to our policies. They can say anything they like, but with regard to action, they have to be careful. Freedom of the press has to be regulated by laws, you see. Lu acknowledged that there will be changes in current Hong Kong laws in certain instances.' As an example he cited press advocacy of Hong Kong and Taiwan independence, which will absolutely not be allowed once Hong Kong reverts to Chinese sovereignty. Five months later, Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen presented an even more restrictive definition of Hong Kong press freedom. In an October 15 statement, he proclaimed that after July 1, 1997, the Hong Kong media can put forward criticism, but not rumors or lies. Nor can they put forward personal attacks on the Chinese leaders (Frances Foster, The Illusory Promise: Freedom Of Press In Hong Kong,

China).

Before the hand over, many politicians were aware of the fact that the hand over would not simply be a change of government from the British to that of the Chinese. This will necessitate far more than hauling down one flag and pulling up another because the culture, politics, economics and legal systems of Hong Kong greatly contradict radically from those of China.

China has promised Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy, but Beijing's actions the past year have caused many in Hong Kong to doubt that China will permit self- government. The return of Hong Kong in 1997 will mark the end of the Western imperialism that spread… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Lost Identity of Hong Kong.  (2004, April 30).  Retrieved July 18, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/lost-identity-hong-kong/1706590

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"Lost Identity of Hong Kong."  30 April 2004.  Web.  18 July 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/lost-identity-hong-kong/1706590>.

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"Lost Identity of Hong Kong."  Essaytown.com.  April 30, 2004.  Accessed July 18, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/lost-identity-hong-kong/1706590.