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Keep Hong Kong’s Window Open

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Journalists covering the protests include some who have been expelled from China amid crackdowns

renocol_GordonCrovitzOct. 5, 2014 5:03 p.m. ET, L. Gordon Crovitz writes: Information has been the main currency of Hong Kong since colonial days, when word reached mainland Chinese that if they escaped to “touch base” in Hong Kong, they would get refuge under British rule. Hong Kong became Asia’s first global city thanks to hardworking immigrants who made the most of their open trade, English legal system and free speech.

“By breaking the promise that Hong Kong can select its own government, China’s current rulers are violating clear obligations.”

Hong Kong protesters are driven by hope that a leader selected by Hong Kong voters—as Beijing promised for 2017 before it reneged—can protect their way of life. But as the Communist Party narrows freedoms on the mainland, Deng Xiaoping ’s “one country, two systems” formulation for the 1997 handover entails a widening gap between life in Hong Kong and the rest of China. Without a government to represent them, Hong Kong people had no better choice than to take to the streets.

Exclusive: punditfromanotherplanet Hong Kong Bureau

Exclusive: punditfromanotherplanet Hong Kong Bureau

“This year has seen unprecedented physical attacks on journalists in Hong Kong, presumably at Beijing’s behest. China extorted advertising boycotts of pro-democracy publishers in Hong Kong. It forced critical bloggers to close down.”

Mainland China is in an era of brutal suppression. Beijing jails reformers, controls journalists and employs hundreds of thousands of censors on social media. Twitter Facebook , YouTube and many global news sites are blocked. Instagram was closed down after mainlanders shared photos of Hong Kong people using umbrellas against pepper spray and tear gas.

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“Hong Kong’s fate is to be the world’s window on an unpredictable China. “

As a financial capital, Hong Kong cannot survive without open access to information. It has more newspapers than any other city in the world. It’s been a window on China since the communist revolution. An unintended consequence of Beijing’s recent crackdown is that expelled foreign journalists now operate from Hong Kong, delivering news of the protests.

Exclusive: punditfromanotherplanet Hong Kong Bureau

Exclusive: punditfromanotherplanet Hong Kong Bureau

Google searches from China are routed to Hong Kong servers so that results can be delivered uncensored

The Wall Street Journal’s first overseas edition was launched in Hong Kong in 1976. A running joke among Journal opinion writers is that it’s the only place in the world where our free-market, free-people beliefs are mainstream. Google searches from China are routed to Hong Kong servers so that results can be delivered uncensored.

This year has seen unprecedented physical attacks on journalists in Hong Kong, presumably at Beijing’s behest. China extorted advertising boycotts of pro-democracy publishers in Hong Kong. It forced critical bloggers to close down. Jimmy Lai, founder of the popular anticommunist Apple Daily newspaper, was targeted by the Independent Commission Against Corruption, raising doubts about the integrity of the Beijing-controlled Hong Kong chief executive, who oversees the agency.

Joshua Wong, the 17-year-old student whose arrest last month brought hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong’s seven million people to the streets, had earlier sparked a movement that forced Beijing to back down on free-speech issues…(read more)

WSJ

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6 Comments on “Keep Hong Kong’s Window Open”

  1. […] Pundit from another Planet Journalists covering the protests include some who have been expelled from China amid crackdowns […]

  2. […] Keep Hong Kong’s Window Open (punditfromanotherplanet.com) […]

  3. […] Keep Hong Kong’s Window Open (punditfromanotherplanet.com) […]

  4. […] Keep Hong Kong’s Window Open (punditfromanotherplanet.com) […]

  5. […] Keep Hong Kong’s Window Open (punditfromanotherplanet.com) […]


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