Activism – Letter in The Standard


Hong Kong’s Sing Tao newsgroup owns the territory’s second largest Chinese language newspaper and its only free English daily. Their pro-government stance has stood both before and after the 1997 handover to China, switching its support to Beijing after Hong Kong was returned to Chinese control as a Special Administrative Region. Sing Tao’s global circulation is second only to the International Herald Tribune and it has aligned itself with several mainland news outfits.

In 1996 several staff members were arrested by HK’s anti-corruption unit after manipulating circulation figures. In 2001, Sing Tao’s Canadian arm was issued an injunction by Quebec Supreme Court for describing the Falun Gong as an ‘evil cult’.

Recently, a spate of poorly-written editorials by Mary Ma have caused upset amongst their English newspaper’s readership, who – being generally immigrants and ex-pats – do not share her conservative, anti-democratic, pro-CCP politics.

In May, a letter I wrote was printed questioning Ms Ma’s dismissal of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre.

My latest letter questions another controversial editorial in which Ma slammed “frequent… ugly… radical” activists speaking up on behalf of the majority of Hong Kongers.

The Standard 08.12.09

Dear Sirs.

Who is Mary Ma and why does she hate freedom of speech so much?

No tax-payer wants $63 billion spent on a white elephant train which doesn’t even terminate in Guangzhou’s centre. It would take 1hr 18mins to travel between the heart of both cities, saving merely 32 minutes but costing up to $400 per ticket. Every Hongkonger is contributing $9000 to construction, yet a City University survey says only half of us have heard of it.

Usage of the Western Corridor border highway was predicted to be 29,800 vehicles daily, yet only 5,899 daily trips are currently made. It is likely that this environmentally disastrous project, which has almost doubled in cost already, has also been grossly, deliberately over-estimated.

The ONLY reason Ms Ma is able to spout her terrible analogies and polemical rubbish is thanks to the hard won civil liberties fought for, over generations, by activists participating in a great tradition of protest and “ugly” civil disobedience. Our right to do so is enshrined in the Basic Law, and these brave demonstrators were speaking on behalf of the vast majority of citizens.

I’d suggest Ms Ma’s ‘journalism’ would be more at home in a spin off newspaper, ‘The Sub-Standard’?

Tom Grundy

The only people happy with the proposal (apparently 80%!) are those who are receiving huge payouts (read ‘bribes’) to make way for construction – this does not translate into 80% of all citizens.

And why use the US as an example, when there is an oppressive, brutal police-state so near to Hong Kong? What was that place again!?

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