Hong Kong: Island of press freedom in China

This story is a few weeks — HK rally over Chinese ‘assault’ — old but it underscores something that many seem to forget.

Hong Kong, by treaty, has its civil liberties and civil rights protected until 2047.

That means

  • The media are not under government control
  • Anti-government demonstrations are allowed
  • Rule of law dominates

I recall back in 1999 when I moved to Hong Kong an otherwise smart editor called and asked if I was willing to do a piece on being a Western journalist under a communist government. I suggested he call someone in Shanghai or Beijing because while Hong Kong might be under Beijing rule, it is not under communist laws.

The Chinese get it. Back in 2003 the mayor of Guangzhou chastised a Hong Kong reporter for asking a follow-up question, meant to get past the pre-packaged address given by the mayor.

“It is not your turn to speak,” he said. “You are applying Hong Kong media practices here.”

Even today, I get comments from — again, otherwise smart — people wondering about how communism is working out for Hong Kong. For some reason, the “One Country, Two Systems” concept is hard to grasp.

Maybe better education in U.S. schools and better writing in the U.S. media could held explain it all.

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Filed under China, Press Freedom

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