Friday, February 28, 2014

Hushed or Chopped

The cost of press freedom in Hong Kong?

This New York Times article (and others like it) reports on the vicious stabbing of a prominent Hong Kong newspaper senior editor (Kevin Lau of the Chinese-language Ming Pau) by a knife-wielding assailant who was aided by a getaway motorbike driver. Mr. Lau had been a strident voice in calling for the investigation of the offshore wealth of Chinese officials. Sadly and suspiciously, he is not the first such investigator to have been met with threats, or worse consequences. Reporters have been forced into self-censorship, often by anonymous calls in the middle of the night by parties wishing to discuss family safety. Kevin Lau’s just happens to be the most blatant assault to date. Equally troubling is that many of these acts of intimidation and violence against Hong Kong reporter have gone unsolved by the usually-efficient local police.
Consider also the threats of expulsion currently leveled against several international reporters from the Mainland. The New York Times in particular has been facing pressure on its locally based staff since it broke the story about Wen Jiabao’s multi-billion dollar wealth accumulation while acting as Prime Minister.
For all the crackdowns on corruption and economic crimes that the Xi administration is undertaking, it means nothing in the long run if the leadership counterbalances such worthy programs with harsher (and possibly criminal) repression of human rights and individual freedom. Such dichotomous policies can only lead to anger, tears, and yes, more bloodshed.

No comments:

Post a Comment