I, like many others in Hong Kong, have been extremely concerned about the gradual disappearance of press freedom in the city. This Sunday the 23rd of February, the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) will stage a protest against the increasingly blatant attacks on press and speech freedom in HK. Let’s come together to answer the HKJA’s call and march to the Government Headquarters from Charter Garden, Central at 2:30pm.
Please see below HKJA’s statement:
Attacks against press freedom and the freedom of expression in Hong Kong have been increasing daily. In the face of such threats, the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) and other organisations from the news media will hold a protest on Sunday to support the freedom of expression and resist attempts to silence the media. The protest will end with a rally outside the Chief Executive’s Office, where we will demand the Chief Executive acts to maintain Hong Kong’s space for free speech, free from attack.
The protest will start at 2.30 p.m. at Chater Garden and marchers will proceed east towards Admiralty, passing through Tamar Street and Harcourt Road before arriving at the Chief Executive’s Office in Tim Wa Avenue.
Well-known broadcasters and writers who have been censored will speak at the rally outside the Chief Executive’s Office. Representatives of disadvantaged groups whose plight have been highlighted through the news media will talk about the impact a free press and free speech has on society and people’s livelihood. And members of the younger generation, who learn about the world through the media, will share their thoughts and feelings about their future in a society where facts may be distorted.
“A journalist’s duty is to report, not to protest but our consciences compel us to raise the alarm: those in power are attacking the media and their ultimate aim is to create a population kept in ignorance and blind loyalty,” said Hong Kong Journalists Association Chairperson Sham Yee-lan.
Journalism Educators for Press Freedom, Ming Pao Staff Concern Group, RTHK Programme Staff Union, Next Media Trade Union and the Independent Commentators Association Preparatory Committee share the HKJA’s fears. Together, we urge all Hong Kong people who cherish Hong Kong’s freedom of the press and freedom of expression to stand up and join in Sunday’s “Free Speech, Free Hong Kong” protest; to jointly speak out for Hong Kong’s core values of press freedom and free speech.
For enquiries, please contact HKJA at 2591 0692.
Hong Kong Journalists Association
19 February 2014
Lau Shui Heung Reservoir (流水響水塘) has long lost its irrigation function for agricultural lands nearby as Hong Kong’s farming lands have become a rarity. But the biodiversity there plus the picturesque scenery has made the reservoir area a lovely place for leisure walking.
There is not a path along the reservoir, but a country trail starts from and ends at the reservoir which is about 2-hour walk. The walk is pretty easy with very mild climbs and has alternative dirt, stone and concrete trail. The middle part of the trail is concrete, after you reach an intersection and a pavilion. Follow the sign pointing to Tai Po Road, and go down the slope a bit, before turning right, when you see this sign, into a nice dirt path leading to the reservoir. This last part of the trail in the reservoir area is very green and captivating.
The easiest way is take a taxi, with a fare of about HK$60, from Fanling train station. Alternatively, you can take minibus No. 52B, from Fanling train station, the services of which are far from frequent. Get off at the junction of Lau Shui Heung Road and Hok Tau Road, and walk along the Lau Shui Heung Road towards the reservoir. Or simply tell the minibus driver to drop you off for going to Lau Shui Heung Reservoir.
To return to Fanling train station, since it would be hard to hail a taxi, just walk back to the junction, and along the Hok Tau Road towards Hok Tau. You will pass by a BBQ site (Hok Tau BBQ Area) on the way.
When you see this road sign pointing in the direction of Hok Tau Wai, follow it and the bus stop for No. 52B will be in sight. But be prepared to wait at least half an hour for the minibus as the services are not frequent.
Just next to the road sign (Hok Tau Wai), is a store selling noodles and desserts with outside seating. Its bean curd dessert and sweet potato dessert are excellent. Give it a try before heading back to the city.
Updated on 12 Feb 2014:
Famous and outspoken radio host Li Wei-ling was fired without any warning or explanation from her employer at Commercial Radio Hong Kong on 11 Feb 2014. She said she believed completely that Chief Executive CY Leung was behind this.
Updated on 20 Jan 2014:
The latest is that the founder of am730, a free newspaper critical of government and authorities, Shih Wing-ching, disclosed that the mainland capital companies have been withdrawing advertisements from its newspaper. “Beijing will try to shrink the press freedom of Hong Kong all around, as they have lost [out] in the city’s public opinion since the handover,” Shih told Commercial Radio (reported by SCMP on 15 Jan).
The editorial team at am730 issued a statement subsequently, expressing their concern over press freedom being suppressed.
Reading “Ming Pao” is my family tradition. Until now, my father still buys and reads “Ming Pao” every day, which is widely seen as an influential Chinese newspaper with independence. So when the news broke on 7 January that the newspaper’s chief editor, a Hong Konger promoted to the position two years ago, will be replaced by a Malaysian, that shocks me and many others. The move is so unusual that it prompts the newspaper staff to sign a petition to ask for explanation of the sudden change and the assurance of editorial independence from the senior management. It also prompted 200 former staff of the newspaper to sign a declaration expressing their concern over the erosion of Hong Kong’s press freedom. Columnists of the newspaper also opted to leave their column blank to protest against the unpopular change of the chief editor.
Without a doubt, Beijing is clamping down on Hong Kong’s press, heavily and successfully. Those caring about Hong Kong have reasons for concern.
Hong Kong media organizations fell one after another in recent years, bowing to Beijing influence. So sad. Beijing Government forgets one thing though. More it wants to control, more things get out of control.
Prior to Ming Pao and am730 incidents, a serious of events have been unfurling, showing how press in Hong Kong is being gradually controlled and self censoring. This, cannot be turned a blind eye to. When Hong Kong completely loses its press freedom, it is certified dead.
Here is just a sampling of how Hong Kong is losing its press freedom:
SCMP appointed former China Daily correspondent as chief editor in 2011
Hong Kong veteran English-language newspaper South China Morning Post was acquired by Kerry Group in 1993, whose boss is a Malaysian tycoon with friendly ties to Beijing authority. Since then the century-old newspaper has stirred up a raft of controversies surrounding self censorship. The appointment of Mr Wang Xiang Wei in 2011 as Chief Editor signifies its total demise, who is a former “China Daily” reporter and a Political Consultative Conference member (only those with friendly relationships with mainland authorities can be appointed such). A weekly magazine (陽光時務) in June 2012 has produced an exclusive feature, with former SCMP Beijing-based reporter Paul Mooney giving a personal account of why he was kicked out of the SCMP by Wang and the tarnished reputation of Wang as a censor. Read the report here.
Commercial Radio Host Replaced in November 2013
A host of Commercial Radio renowned for daring criticisms of Hong Kong and Beijing authories, was removed from the radio station’s prominent morning show. She was asked to host an evening program instead.
Hong Kong Economic Times’ Self-censorship in December 2013
A musician who is a columnist for Hong Kong Economic Times complained that the name of Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung was struck out from his column article. The article is about an Ikea toy becoming the symbol of rage of Hong Kongers towards the government led by CY Leung. His article originally mentioned twice CY Leung, and twice, the name was struck out by the newspaper.
Mei Ho House was built in 1954 as a resettlement block to accommodate those living in squats in Shek Kip Mei who lost their home to a fire on Christmas day in 1953. Together with other blocks, it was the first public housing estate – Shek Kip Mei Estate – in Hong Kong and marked the beginning of the city’s public housing policies.
Since no other public housing estates with a “H” shape and dating back to such a long time ago exist, Mei Ho House has been designated as a Historic Building and preserved, and lately converted to be a youth hostel with 129 rooms and dormitories. The hostel commenced operation starting from October this year. For a single room with breakfast included, the price is about HK$300. A double room with breakfast included is about HK$700. Given the high rent in Hong Kong, the prices look reasonable to me, and the rooms seem so much more spacious than the normal hostel rooms you can find in Hong Kong.
Inside the youth hostel is a museum showing the history of Hong Kong’s public housing from 1950’s to 1980’s. Those having visited the museum told me that the exhibits are reminiscent of their childhood and the daily items their homes once had. The old Hong Kong can also be experienced in the hostel’s cafe with decor reflecting the old time.