Media Rights in the New Hong Kong

Nieman Reports, Spring 1997 | Go to article overview

Media Rights in the New Hong Kong


I am aware that Hong Kong is suddenly getting a lot of attention from the United States government and the American media. American officials and Congressmen seem to be making an attempt to "elevate" Hong Kong to the same status as Taiwan, Tibet and human rights as one of the central issues that will seriously affect Sino-U.S. relations.

Hong Kong had not been given such a degree of attention by Washington in the past. I wonder why for 150 years the American government never raised any meaningful objection to British colonial rule over Hong Kong; why there had never been any objection to the draconian laws in Hong Kong that existed up to the mid-1980's, including laws that were a constant threat to freedom of the press here.

Only now, when we see the impending end of colonial rule over Hong Kong, does the American government start to pay attention. One would suspect that the American government, together with a large part of the American media, regard the end of colonial rule over Hong Kong as a change for the worst, and would prefer Hong Kong to remain under colonial rule rather than to attain a high degree of autonomy under Chinese sovereignty. Are these people really the descendants of American foundling fathers who fought against British colonialism?

I have no objection to any belated attention, so long as Hong Kong will not be stifled by people who are over-zealous but lack sufficient knowledge. You, of course, will have a better assessment of how much Americans know about Hong Kong. I remember an occasion in 1985 when I was in St. Paul, Minnesota. I was not as young as I'm now (to paraphrase Bob Dylan) and for some obscure reason I went into a disco and there met a local woman. We struck up a conversation and when she knew that I came from Hong Kong, she asked, "why do you keep exporting so many automobiles to us?"

Then last year I got a letter from a "National Technical Information Service" under the U.S. Department of Commerce. The letter asked for permission to translate articles in our paper to be put into their database, to be sold as a service to subscribers. Later I received another letter from them saying that we would eventually receive a check for the number of hits accessed by Internet users. The address they put down on the envelope was our office at 342 Hennessy Road, and after the road name was the city name "Hong Kong," and then the word "Taiwan."

Without sufficient knowledge of the facts, Americans will have understandings about the future of Hong Kong. They will be easily misled by people with strong biases, some of them in the American media. One can almost draw parallels with 1949, when the Chinese people generally referred to the success of the revolution as "liberation," some Americans bemoaned the "loss" of China to Communism. The demonizing of China in the American media went on for more than 20 years, until President Nixon's visit to Beijing. But then it seems that old habits really die hard.

As a journalist I covered the process of the Sino-British negotiations over Hong Kong in the early 1980's, and the long transition period since. Initially the British, supported by some other people, declared that the return of Hong Kong to China would spell economic disaster for the territory. You know very well the real economic picture in Hong Kong today, and the doomsday prophets are proven wrong. But now they have another theme and say that even if the economy is all right, civil liberties here, including press freedom, will suffer after the British have departed.

Article 23 of the Basic Law for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is regarded by these people as a threat to freedom of the press and other civil liberties. As a member of the National People's Congress of China, I voted for the adoption of the Basic Law in 1990. It is my view that the "Basic Law" enshrines the "one country, two systems" concept of Deng Xiaoping and is the best guarantee for civil liberties for the people of Hong Kong. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Media Rights in the New Hong Kong
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.