Fake news law is fake news, sort of

The Hong Kong government will drop plans to introduce a ‘fake news’ law. This could be because the authorities are easing off on the NatSec struggle – except of course it couldn’t. So you might think it’s because the press has been tamed so much that further regulation is unnecessary. But that can’t be it, because a law against what officials deem false information will presumably apply to housewives and everyone else as well as reporters. 

As the HKFP article says, the decision-makers believe other measures – the upcoming local Article 23 NatSec Law – will address the ‘problem’. At least one journalist I know is wondering whether they will be safe once vaguely worded legislation on this subject is passed. The Foreign Correspondents Club will no doubt at some stage ask the government for approval to issue a statement of concern.

Meanwhile, the government hits out at ‘groundless conclusions or make untrue, unfair and irresponsible remarks’ after commentators express shock at Leighton Contractors’ HK$40,000 fine.

Some (non-paywalled) weekend reading from Foreign Affairs rethinking assumptions on what makes a ‘great power’…

Russia looked like a heavily armed nuclear and conventional power that was able and willing to impose its will not just on its neighborhood but on countries around the globe. But beneath this menacing picture of the Kremlin was a much shabbier portrait of the underlying social, political, economic, and technological elements of power, all of which suggested that Russia was anything but great.

From the Diplomat, a look at Beijing’s use of overseas PR companies.

Useful thread on China’s new Foreign Relations Law. (Background here.)

On a lighter note, Sixth Tone looks at the origins of Florida Water (created in New York) and its Hong Kong version Two Girls…

Kwong Sang Hong faced numerous challenges as it attempted to market Two Girls’ flower dew water to Chinese women. For one, contemporary moral norms prevented the company from hiring women to pitch the brand, meaning the eponymous “two girls” were in fact male models who had been picked for their delicate features. 

And coming soon – a book on China’s ‘underground historians’.

You mean it won’t otherwise? (Standard story.)
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11 Responses to Fake news law is fake news, sort of

  1. Nury Vibbrachi says:

    The Ministry of Truth has spoken.

    No fake news retribution because of course most of the news in Hong Kong is now entirely fake. Look at a newspaper called the “Hong Kong Standard” (which is I believe still coming out?). Full of the sort of stuff we would have called emergency bum fluff in the old days, sort of desperate 3 am column fillers.

    Today’s Substandard offering of “Local News”:

    ERROR’s Dee Gor takes the plunge into 7-SELECT’s AI-powered Foodie-verse
    Junior Sports Reporters hone their skills at top tournaments
    eHealth system a boon for diabetes patients, study shows
    Cops seize 13 air rifles and ammo, arrest three
    HKBU joins hands with Google to develop digital skills

    The East Cheam Gazette anyone?

    Where are the flashers and upskirts deviants of yesteryear, the exploding air conditioners, the closure of swimming pools because of phantom poopers?

    Oh well, we can always have a good laugh at the RTHK news page.

    We used to have self-censorship in Hong Kong. Now we have self-satire.

    Actually it’s all an aspect of doublethink:

    “To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy…”


  2. Chinese Netizen says:

    “Kwong Sang Hong faced numerous challenges as it attempted to market Two Girls’ flower dew water to Chinese women. For one, contemporary moral norms prevented the company from hiring women to pitch the brand, meaning the eponymous “two girls” were in fact male models who had been picked for their delicate features.”

    Kinda like the Japanese government sending a he/him/man/male/penis enabled individual to represent the nation at a women’s empowerment pow wow.


  3. Mary Melville says:

    Perhaps the ‘villagers’ passion for golf was not as universal as that trotted out at the Town Planning meetings:
    Listening to members of the kuk, who have turned NT farmland into toxin riddled ramshackle brownfield operations, warble on about their love of natural environment, heritage, culture, blah blah was surreal.
    If the government was commercially savvy it would edit the audio tapes into one hour bites selling the HK Good Story while inadvertently revealing the greed and perfidy that drives our society.
    The Kuk wants the government to move the PH development to some farmland nearby so remote that, get this, according to planning officials is not even attractive to open storage operators!!!!!!! In other words turn lead to gold.
    The golf club supports the proposal but was blindsided when a member astutely pointed out that the location would have the same negative impact on local roads that the club and villagers are touting in their opposition to the golf club PH.

  4. Nury “Lovely” Vibbrachi says:

    Fresh in from the government goons at Victoria Park…

    “The lovely Hong Kong from the past is back.“

    This stuff writes itself!


  5. Sweepstakes Announced says:

    Expect the usual response to the Washington Post’s pithy editorial on Gwyneth Chow’s incarceration at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/06/29/hong-kong-lawyer-chow-hang-tung-tiananmen-protest/.

    I predict two “so-called”s, one “descipable” and at least a “slander” in the governmet’s response. Any better offers?

  6. Low Profile says:

    @Mary Melville – never underestimate the cunning of the Kuk, Persuade the government to build housing in the middle of nowhere, That means constructing roads to open up the area and bringing in utilities, thereby enabling “indigenous property developers” to profit from neighbouring land which was previously inaccessible.

  7. Stanley Leiber says:

    Destroying a golf course forever just to put up some residential flats that are equal to less than 5% of the “housing shortage” target during a time of declining population when there are literally dozens of other available locations is one of the stupidest, most shortsighted public-policy decisions imaginable.

    Which means they’ll probably go ahead with it.

  8. dimuendo says:


    Do you happen to be a member of said golf club?

    If not, what is the objection? If land was a public park, otherwise identical to golf club (save for bunkers and greens/holes) then sure, object, notwithstanding not generally convenient location.

    But otherwise, let some people live, hopefully in slightly larger shoe boxes than the norm.

  9. Joe Blow says:

    Now that every member of the Golf Club has sent a letter of outrage to the Ali Rag, including every ExCo official it seems, I would like to propose a simple solution to the “problem”: let the HK Golf Club pay a users’ fee based on commercial rates for the usage of the entire golf course, which is public land after all. “NOT FAIR” I hear Vagina Ip and Ronny Tong shout in unison. To which I answer: “Errr….when was the last time the property cartel heirs and their lackeys (that’s you, Ronny) gave the Hong Kong public a break when they were selling their shoeboxes. Answer: “Errr….never.”

  10. Stanley Lieber says:


    I am not a member of said golf club, but so what if I were?

    The common sense objections to the destruction of the golf course is that it is an oasis of green space, tranquility, trees & birds in the midst of a concrete jungle, there are dozens of suitable alternatives within spitting distance, and once destroyed it is gone forever.

    I wouldn’t support ploughing up St. James’s or Central Park for flats, either.

    If one wishes to strike a righteous blow against the privileged class, then advocate for opening the golf course to the public, but don’t destroy it. It is an asset for future generations.

    As for “letting some people live in slightly larger shoe boxes”, no one in his right mind over the age of 12 could possibly believe that building flats on the Fanling golf course is going to make one iota of difference on the average size of residential housing in Hong Kong. That is sanctimonious cant.

    Have a nice day!

  11. Low Profile says:

    @dimuendo – I’m no lover of golf, but surely the objection is, why destroy an existing amenity that many pople value, when (contrary to official claims) there is in fact plenty of other New Territories land that could be built on, if the governmenrt had the stomach for the inevitable struggle with the Heung Yee Kuk?

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