Proxy War Between China Leaders Enmeshes Hong Kong Publishers

Proxy War Between China Leaders Enmeshes Hong Kong PublishersDespite the 1997 promise that China would leave Hong Kong alone for 50 years, Beijing in recent months has extended a harsh crackdown on freedom of speech in the supposedly autonomous region, now handing down convictions and prison sentences to the editor and publisher respectively of two Hong Kong magazines as well as an editorial…

Hong Kong Anti-Graft Watchdog Under Threat

Hong Kong Anti-Graft Watchdog Under ThreatThe march of Beijing into the core institutions that make Hong Kong a separate place continues. Last week saw the sudden dismissal of the head of investigations at the renowned Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). This is arguably the ICAC’s single most important position, being held by a long serving investigator while the top job,…

HK Concert Cancellation a Flash Point with Beijing

HK Concert Cancellation a Flash Point with BeijingThe announcement that Canto-pop singer and democracy advocate Denise Ho Wan-si is to host a free concert in Hong Kong on June 19 caps an extraordinary two weeks that demonstrate both attempts by Beijing to bully the territory and deep and continuing anger at China that has been boiling for months. The controversy has to…

HK’s Unpopular Chief Exec May Face Competition from Bureaucrats

HK’s Unpopular Chief Exec May Face Competition from BureaucratsHong Kong’s top two bureaucrats are limbering up to present themselves as challengers to the deeply unpopular incumbent Chief Executive C.Y. Leung, 62, whose term ends next year. The two are Chief Secretary for Administration, Carrie Lam, 59, and long-serving Financial Secretary John Tsang, 64. Both are life-long civil servants. However, it is not clear…

Malaysian Tycoon Dismembers HK Paper for Beijing

Malaysian Tycoon Dismembers HK Paper for BeijingWhy did Sarawak timber tycoon Tiong Hiew King stir up a hornet’s nest in Hong Kong by sacking the executive editor of Ming Pao, the once-respected Chinese language daily newspaper he owns, apparently over the publication of the Panama Papers? The action by Chong Tieng Song, the Malaysian earlier made editor in chief of the…

South China Morning Post Shows its New China Stripes

South China Morning Post Shows its New China StripesAlibaba’s Jack Ma has made an immediate impact on his new acquisition, the South China Morning Post. Concerns are rising that the newspaper, considered one of the most authoritative in Asia on China despite its drawbacks, is going to become a cheerleader for Beijing. The front page on April 5 led with an innocent enough…

Beijing Blows Hot Over Hong Kong’s Nationalist Party

Beijing Blows Hot Over Hong Kong’s Nationalist PartyWill China prevail upon the Hong Kong government to use a sledgehammer against the tiny if vocal minority calling for the territory’s independence? The announcement last week of the formation of the Hong Kong National Party stirred the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Beijing’s representative in this Special Administrative Region into self-righteous wrath, calling…

HK By-election Turns Into Referendum, Beijing Loses

HK By-election Turns Into Referendum, Beijing LosesThe depth of unpopularity of Hong Kong’s government, confirmed by a Feb. 28 by- election result, has shown once again that threats and bluster from Beijing do not work. It has also raised the once-unlikely prospect that one of the least unpopular ministers, Financial Secretary John Tsang, could become a candidate for Chief Executive in…

Hong Kong Adopts Beijing Confrontation Tactics

Hong Kong Adopts Beijing Confrontation TacticsThe name of the Hong Kong government’s game: confrontation. That is the only conclusion which can be drawn from recent episodes which have pitted the territory’s Chief Executive, C.Y. Leung, against liberal and pro-democracy groups and individuals. It matters not that for these and plenty of other reasons, Leung’s popularity remains very low. What matters…

Publish and Perish: Long Arm of Chinese Censors Reaches Across Borders

Publish and Perish: Long Arm of Chinese Censors Reaches Across BordersIn an unprecedented attack on press freedom, five men – owners and employees of a publishing house in Hong Kong – disappeared. Three were arrested in mainland China and two abducted from Hong Kong and Thailand, appearing subsequently in mainland China. No charges have formally been laid, but the actions appear to be part of…