In a country where freedom of speech is not held in high regard, Hong Kong’s ‘one country two systems‘ arrangement only provides pro-democracy advocates limited grounds to express their perspectives.
Many forms of censorship exist in Mainland China and Hong Kong but differ greatly.
In an age of Internet interactivity, an age-old tradition of censorship is constantly enforced in China.
To the disappointment of many Chinese netizens, the most liberal blogging website in China, bullog.cn, was shut down on January 9th due to “harmful comments on current affairs.”
In a crackdown where most sites were shut down for the distribution of pornographic images, the reasoning for shutting down bullog.cn was unspecific.
“I got an e-mail from the Beijing Communications Administration this afternoon, saying the Web site contained harmful comments on current affairs and therefore will be closed.” bullog.cn founder Luo Yonghao told the Associated Press.
There remains a liberal voice within the vast Chinese population in this media age. However, this voice is under constant threat of being silenced by the government and self-censorship.
Hong Kong’s pro-democracy advocates have a different type of threat to worry about: death threats.
Before being put off-air, popular radio talk-show host and current LegCo legislator Raymond Wong decided to put his show on hiatus in 2004.
Political pressure stifled the ability to speak freely and critically he said.
Pro-Beijing businessmen “had used coercion and offers of bribery to try to silence him,” Wong said in a interview with Next Magazine.
From the same broadcasting station, pro-democracy talk-show host Albert Cheng also put his show on hiatus in the same year due to the growing amount of threats that he received.
Having been seriously injured in an attack in 1998, Cheng said that he could not risk another attack.
“I am not afraid of people in power, but I shudder at the threat of violence.”
Though Cheng and Wong received these threats some time ago, this form of intimidation still serve as a major hindrance to the freedom of speech in Hong Kong.