Newspapers may not be the force they used to be but the way they handle big stories is still revealing.
Following an extraordinary day in Hong Kong yesterday, let’s see how the main papers covered it.
Main headline: Riot
First up is the Oriental Daily News. Its editors deserve a certain recognition for this powerful front page, even though it is, to be frank, quite misleading.
Now we’ve despatched the organisers of an illegal student-led demonstration, let’s celebrate May 4.
For those not familiar, the May 4th Movement began as a protest against the unfair Versailles Treaty and became a genuine social revolution.
Like the Occupy and 1989 democracy movements, the students of 1919 took to the streets in defiance of an official ban. As with the later protests, it failed in its immediate aims but the spirit and ideology lived on. Continue reading
Alibaba COO Joe Tsai was one of the big names at RISE yesterday, but if you went hoping for an insight into a media title grappling with digital, you’d have been disappointed.
There was almost nothing that we didn’t hear at the time of the acquisition, rather confirming the view that the Alibaba crew are billionaire dilettantes not terribly interested in their new media toy.
They’ve been at it for 18 months but neither Tsai nor SCMP CEO Gary Liu could share a single number about page views, ad sales or investment.
The fireworks are done, the barricades are down and the PLA has returned to barracks.
The weekend celebration of Hong Kong’s two decades under Beijing rule was marked by Xi Jinping himself, joining local dignitaries in the obligatory toasts to the ‘success’ of one-country two systems.
From their viewpoint it is a success – Hong Kong remains a source of wealth and under direct party control.
But most citizens would labour to identify any aspect of their lives that has improved. The city today is vastly more unequal, unfair, unhappy and unstable than in 1997. Once a freewheeling trading port with no interest in politics, political tension now infects even the smallest of local affairs. Continue reading
Conservation and pro-democracy candidate Eddie Chu Hoi-dick has become the biggest election story after winning a seat with a record number of votes and warning of “a storm” of violence in rural Hong Kong.
Chu, 38, a former Ming Pao journalist, topped the poll for NT West, which runs from South Lantau north to the Shenzhen border, with 82,000 votes – a record for any single candidate. He campaigned on a platform of Heung Yee Kuk reform, Hong Kong self-determination and conservation, including opposition to the East Lantau Metropolis.
Chu broke down in tears briefly at a press conference this morning after thanking his supporters and family. He said he was followed on the last day of the election campaign by a car that he was told belonged to a Yuen Long landlord. Continue reading
More roads for Lantau, relocation of cattle, improved sewerage works, expansion of Mui Wo tourism.
If those seem familiar they should. They are the demands of South Lantau rural committees, so it is no surprise they should be the main planks of Leung Che-cheung’s Lantau platform.
Leung, the sitting member for New Territories West, is a prominent Heung Yee Kuk politician as well as top of one of the DAB lists for NT West. The kuk is pro-government but not necessarily pro-DAB. Lau Wong-fat was a member of the Liberal Party for some years, and in recent years kuk leaders have canvassed setting up their own party (that would be a milestone; they already have their own LegCo seat). Continue reading
As a registered voter, you have two votes in the LegCo election on September 4.
Here’s how it works.
The outgoing LegCo consists of 70 seats, of which 35 are from geographical constituencies and 35 from Hong Kong’s unique creation, “functional constituencies (FCs).” These are a frankly random and hard-to-explain assortment of sectors. To take one example: insurance, finance and financial services are all separate FCs.
Only 18 will actually be contested (fun fact: the Heung Yee Kuk seat has never been contested). Voting populations vary immensely – at one end agriculture and fisheries has 154 voters; at the other end education has 88,000. Of the 35 FCs, five are district council super-seats that we all get to vote on. More on that later. Continue reading
Hong Kong leader CY Leung is under fire from multiple directions for his beach cleanup exercise on South Lantau yesterday.
A team of around 60 government cleaning contractors was hired early Sunday morning to collect and sort the trash at Shui Hau ahead of the arrival of Leung and his 70-strong party of senior bureaucrats, according to local activist Ho Loy. Continue reading
For the second time in less than a month, senior SAR officials have converged on Lantau to collect beach trash.
This morning CY Leung himself led a team of 70 officials that collected 1.35 tonnes of rubbish from Cheung Sha and Shui Hau, RTHK reported. Leung said they had been inspired by the efforts of local residents.
Zhang Dejiang’s short visit (or inspection) has told us that Lantau is not just a big deal in Hong Kong. It’s a pretty big deal in Beijing, and an even bigger deal for CY Leung’s reelection (or ‘reelection’) strategy.
The Development Bureau was the first place on Zhang’s official agenda, which soon became well-known to Hong Kong thanks to this photograph of the VIP inspecting this hefty 3D visualisation of the Lantau plans: