And now, RTHK…

Each step in the Mainlandization of Hong Kong is too small to warrant a major fuss. Political prosecution of demonstrators? It’s a few kids. Disqualification of lawmakers? They could have read the oath properly. Erosion of legislators’ powers? Tedious details. Barring candidates from ballots? Kids again. Pro-democracy academics passed over for promotion? Oh, please.

Another sign that the Great Andy Chan/FCC Controversy is different: RTHK’s civil-servant boss brings the week to a close by banning the taxpayer-funded station from carrying the Chan lunch talk live.

Director of Broadcasting Leung Ka-wing tries to be nuanced, saying that his news staff can report the event, and claiming that RTHK has ‘never given live coverage’ of this sort before. But his basic objection is the subject – Hong Kong independence. To leave you in no doubt that the Chinese Communist Party is handing down the orders, he repeats the official blatant BS/mantra that it’s ‘not about press freedom’.

It’s a wonder that RTHK managed to fend off pro-Beijing demands and get away with doing public-service news coverage for this long – several years after government departments like the police, election officers and the prosecutions service abandoned political impartiality. But if the Andy Chan/FCC case is the point where freedom of speech and the press go into reverse in Hong Kong, RTHK’s transition to state broadcaster is inevitable. Gradual transition, no doubt.

I declare the weekend open…


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14 Responses to And now, RTHK…

  1. “It’s not about press freedom” means it is certainly about press freedom, the way “Speaking frankly…” means “I am about to tell a lie”, and “I’m not a racist but…” means “I am about to say something racist”.

  2. reductio says:

    PSB – Not listened to this in yonks – “Hello hunter leader, can you see ’em, can you see them?” Brilliant.

  3. The analogy of a frog in water comes to mind – throw one into a pot of hot water and it will jump out, but drop one into a pot of cold water and turn the heat on, and it will stay there as it’s cooked to death.

    This isn’t just Hong Kong, though. Trump’s attacks on the institution of journalism, the domination of the industry by fewer and fewer people – and more and more of them hard-core neoliberals – and a general inclination to dismiss any news you don’t like as “fake news,” suggest that the days of freedom of the press are rapidly drawing to a close everywhere.

  4. Knownot says:

    “Another sign that the Great Andy Chan/FCC Controversy is different” – Both sides are now being foolish. The proposal to air the speech live looks like a provocation, and the claim that RTHK has never given live coverage of this sort before sounds plausible.

  5. doknow says:

    @knownot, I am sure RTHK has aired political speeches numerous times live, e.g. the debate during Occupy or inaugurations of CEs.

    And, FCC posts all speeches online. What difference does it make if it is posted live or 1h later?

  6. Henry says:

    Or having “Peoples Republic” in your country name means you are anything but a peoples republic.

  7. Monkey Returns says:


    The western mainstream media is a key element in the global war machine. through intentional deception, misdirection, the distortion of language (e.g. civilian casualties are now called “collateral damage”) and creative framing war is dehumanised and implicitly justified in its narrative.

    there are so many examples of this in the last 50 years you have to be blind, or deeply unconscious to invest emotional buy-in the western media narrative today. the ‘liberal’ mainstream media have clearly been complicit in war propagandising since Iraq war 1.0, because of either “national security” (Iraq 2.0 and Afghanistan) or “humanitarian intervention to give XX people a chance at liberty” (Somalia, Syria, Libya, that is even how Vietnam was framed … protecting the liberty of the free south Vietnamese from the evil commies with all those freedom bombs).

    another example is how differently whistleblowers have been considered in media discourse say thirty years ago compared to the last 10 years. E.g. Daniel Ellsberg and the pentagon papers (published by newspapers despite an open injunction by the Nixon govt against it) vs. Julian Assange and Wikileaks, or William Binney and Thomas Drake (NSA whistleblowers) today, where the media, .gov and international Govs have all co-operated to mitigate or suppress the information they are exposing on the actual workings of our system.

    Another great way to think about this is to examine post WWII history and realise that despite a relatively liberal demos in the west, foreign wars and military involvements have resulted with warmongering governments in the US from both sides of the aisle for over 60 years. the few elected leaders that appeared to fight against the war agenda in the US since WWII have all been assassinated – JFK, Robert Kennedy etc.

    I dislike trump as a guy (from what I have seen and heard), and I don’t trust him. best case scenario he is a game show host in way over his head who is dealing with a very toxic system. worst case scenario is he is a pied piper who is working with the status quo political establishment to execute a pre-existing agenda.

    the fact that the mainstream media have attacked him so constantly and consistently, is one of the only points in his favour. but to consider, so soon after the Vietnam war (huge numbers of lies per minute), to Iraq 2.0 (one very important lie), that to question what the see-eye-aye or other alphabet agencies say is true (which they do not substantiate with proof – due to nat sec reasons) is anti patriotic or ‘russia funded subversion’ is fucking ridiculous. the insane derangement of mccarthyism has returned, except this time its version 2.0.

    its a fucked up world we live in. working class middle America is the strongest anti war element in US society, for the first time in its national history. a republican president is being criticised *from the right* (not enough WAR, we need moar WAR) by ‘liberal’ politicians and the ‘liberal’ media. did you read the widespread mainstream media protests and condemnation against trump after he bombed syria? no, because it didn’t exist. the silence was deafening, and all of a sudden it was “our president” dropping some good ole American human rights and democracy bombs.

    the intelligence agencies of the world, and especially the west – they serve the interests of a relatively small and exclusive group of human beings. the mainstream media, and the narratives they put forth serve the interests of a very similar, overlapping group within our global society. the mainstream media fails to serve, or address in a authentic, humanist or real way, the small brown poor people gratefully receiving our democracy and freedom bombs, nor the poor black, brown, and white kids coming back to the US sans arms, legs, and sanity (are you aware of the suicide rate among veterans in the US?).

    so what can you do? wake up. wake the fuck up. if you own a western passport, know that horrendous slaughter and murder is going on in your name, with the tax dollars of your country’s public purse. educate yourself on the nature of information creation and propagation in todays world, and keep asking why? not ‘why did this happen, its terrible?’ but ‘why is this information being presented in this way, at this time?’

    know that you do no service to our common prosperity, health, and happiness, as a species, when you buy into any demonisation narrative being put forth by the mainstream media (USSR, Saddam, osama, butcher Assad, evil Putin, deranged trump for the western media, or evil foreign-funded hongkie separatists for the Peoples Daily). when you buy into a toxic media narrative without practicing discernment or considering how and why the narrative is being framed and pushed, or that many of the ‘factual statements’ may be deceptive, misleading, or distorted due to the structure of unidirectional information hierarchy, one is unconsciously consenting to and participating in deliberate, cultivated, collective fear and mania. this process – fearing an imaginary enemy that the press and .gov builds up, and then using this public sentiment as justification to drop more human rights and democracy bombs… – is the fuel that the war machine needs to function.

    so what can you do? wake up. get educated. read as many sources as you can, and use logic to create your own picture of the world that is based insight and awareness. I found it necessary to become aware there is a system level distortion, an incentive to deceive me and cause a fear-based reaction within, in order to divest any emotional stake in the mainstream media narratives. this is the greatest contribution you can make to our collective evolution and shift as a species.

    your grandchildren, and your grandchildren’s grandchildren will thank you, and honour you for it.

  8. Monkey Returns says:

    Jimmy Dore is a lifelong liberal and democrat (and a funny comedian) who quit the democratic party and supported jill stein during the last election. he is no fan of trump.

    you may find his discussion on the current state of american politics, and the failure of western media to sustain audience trust, insightful.

  9. @Monkey – you are right that the mainstream media (western or not) are not to be trusted unquestioningly, but I wouldn’t give Trump any credit for pointing that out when his own primary sources of information seem to be racist anti-scientific conspiracy theorists.

  10. Cassowary says:

    A real frog that is slowly heated in a pot of water will actually jump out when it gets too warm. Humans are dumber than frogs.

  11. Tiu Fu Fong says:

    I agree with @Cassowary. Only people who have never tried to cook live frog use the inaccurate analogy.

    Video of a frog clearly trying to GTFO of warming up water:

  12. dimuendo says:

    Limited sympathy for FCC’s stance. In inviting HK National Party/Andy Chan, they knew it would be like a red rag to a bull as far as the CCP was concerned. What is got out of it? Nothing, save it makes a few narcisstic bores feel they are championing free speech, and giving a platfom to somebody who clearly is capable of getting his message across, and opportunity for a few self serving questions. Downside? Giving the CCP a needless opportunity to confront and thereby whittle away at HK’s freedoms.

    Do not throw the gauntlet down unless you are prepared for somebody to pick it up. Do not pick a needless fight, particularly unless you are sure you can win.

    And yes. I believe in the right to dissent, and for people to peacefully state a view. But now the FCC challenge, and that is always what it was going to be regarded as by the CCP, has dragged others into it and imperilled those who had managed to preseve their position eg RTHK

  13. Chinese Netizen says:

    Why not pick a fight when you already know the game is rigged against you and the opposition has stacked his team with ringers?

  14. Henry says:

    Its all a neoliberal/leftist/alt-right/establishment (delete as appropriate) conspiracy, innit?

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