You sometimes have to wonder if the South China Morning Post is deliberately parodying itself. Yesterday it devoted its entire back page to key words and their frequency in Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s riveting book on governance. Thus ‘Development’ appears 88 times, ‘Taiwan’ 20 times and so on. Short of leaving the page blank, it would be hard to contrive a less informative or interesting use of space. And in today’s main op-ed feature, some academics report findings from an opinion poll on the Mainland-shoppers invasion. (Front-page news: someone needs a survey to discover that most Hongkongers hate the ‘locusts’, anti-government types even more so.) The writers urge a ‘rational and scientific’ solution, without suggesting what it might be – in line with most SCMP opinion pieces, which essentially ponder how nice it would be if everything was nice.
In fairness, much of the paper’s content is fine. Critics tend not to notice balanced and factual reporting, but it’s there. And occasionally something genuinely intriguing comes along, like the recent map of Hong Kong showing suicide rates by neighbourhood, which gets my cut-out-and-keep award. The SCMP is trapped like much Hong Kong media, wanting to do good journalism but required to appease the owner’s pathological need to shoe-shine Chinese officials who probably pay little notice anyway. Laughably clunky globs of pro-Communist tripe and an aversion to anything but mild and meek views are a price that, in today’s environment, has to be paid. It could be worse.
If you doubt that, take a trip over to the Standard. With little or nothing in the way of opinion pieces, and local reporting lifted from Sing Tao, the paper is far more obviously a tycoon’s plaything. You are entering a parallel universe…
A universe where the presence on the Mainland stock market of 700 companies apparently overvalued by a factor of maybe seven prompts the phrase ‘of course’. And where bad news for landlords is a matter of genuine sorrow and distress…
The landlord who goes without income for six months before halving the rent to HK$400,000 is the Standard’s equivalent of children starving to death in Africa. (Today is unusual in that there is no glowing coverage of suckers snapping up the developers’ latest batch of overpriced apartments – talking up the property market is a core part of the paper’s mission, along with blatant fawning over tycoons and their offspring.) Meanwhile…
Rita Fan, pro-Beijing figure and self-appointed expert on What the Politburo Really Thinks, will not seek re-election to the National People’s Congress. Re-what? NPC deputies are appointed. A small group of loyalists pretend to vote for them in a contest in which the number of candidates equals the number of seats (honest). Not in Standard-land, where for good measure anti-locust protestors (a threat to landlords’ revenues) get the venom-treatment such bastard scum deserve, and an uptick in consumer spending predicted by, um, a credit-card company is due to the horrors of the Occupy movement (don’t ask).
As in any self-respecting parallel universe, the bizarre is considered normal…
A packaging company listed on the dubious GEM exchange is to be used as a front by a mysterious Mainland consortium offering secret funding to acquire Hong Kong’s disastrous ATV (sounds like they all deserve each other). This is Standard-land; as with the 700 firms with triple-digit P/E ratios – of course.
“Thus ‘Development’ appears 88 times, ‘Taiwan’ 20 times and so on.” Well, ‘luckily’ for the fat un-elected one, the word ‘China’ appears an unbelievable 888 times! Who makes this utter shite up? Do they even believe it themselves??
was i imagining things or was the peak and upper mid levels highlighted as red in the suicide map. all not rosy in those lofty heights? suicidal wives while hubby down wanchai with his sunday girlfriend maybe?
Rita (My Meter is Running) Fan, like the woman with the donkey in Tijuana, has a magical slot. Stuff money or hot air up it, and foul smelling dribble comes out the other end.
In a significant development, it is announced that Fongwen County Agricultural and Industrial Import and Export Corporation is to acquire Hong Kong University, which will be transferred to a spacious new campus in Shenzen. The Corporation is reportedly receiving secret funding from a consortium registered on a Caribbean island. A Chinese government spokesman hailed this as an example of impactful integration with the mainland. A Hong Kong government spokesman said that the integration with the mainland would be impactful, and expressed gratitude. However, it has not explained why other universities have not been permitted to move. Democrats say that opportunities to commute and prosper in Shenzen should be open to all students equally.
Hemlock, How about a piece showing Britain’s great current willingness to accommodate China?
The Standard appears to have some history as the creepy uncle of Hong Kong’s English language media. Once I had to go through a stack of them from the 1980s, and back then it was inexplicably staunchly devoted to Reaganomics. There was a period in the early 2000s in its iteration as iMail when it did real journalism and had some pretty good cartoons, but now it’s gone back to not washing its underpants and making pervy comments in public.