Hong Kong Protest Blacked Out by China Media

By Lin Sen, Voice of America
December 12, 2005 12:00 am Last Updated: December 12, 2005 12:00 am

Hong Kong – Nearly 100,000 Hong Kong people took to the street on December 4, calling for a one man, one vote in Hong Kong as soon as possible. However, mainland Chinese were denied this information by the Chinese media.

A Hong Kong resident shouted a slogan similar to, “Fight for one man, one vote” to show their dissatisfaction with the Hong Kong government's political reform plan. They also called on the central government to provide a plan and time table to implement Hong Kong's one man, one vote as soon as possible.

According to a satellite picture analyst, there were around 90,000 people taking part in the march, but one of the protest organizers, Civil Human Rights Front claimed there were 250,000 people in the protest. The most conservative estimate was given by the Hong Kong police at over 63,000 people. The protest was widely reported by international media, but was not seen on any media in mainland China.

A retired professor from Shandong University Sun Wenguang, who pays follows human rights and the democratic movement in China, told a journalist that he knew of the protest from the internet. However, there was not a single word regarding the protest in any mainland Chinese newspaper, radio broadcast or TV. No report of the protest was acknowledged on Chinese soil.

Professor Sun said, “There was nothing on TV and radio, I am disturbed by this. Such a big thing happened in Hong Kong, and even the former Chief Secretary for Administration, Anson Chan Fang, took part in the protest. Such a big event, but not single word or picture showed up on mainland's official media.”

Sun also said that this phenomena shows that the Communist Party is very scared. He stated that this kind of action is a very reasonable way for the people of Hong Kong to demand a one man, one vote, and that the people should require the government to adhere to this policy. The reason the Chinese government blocked this news is that they are worried that there might be a chain reaction if the Chinese people know about what is going on Hong Kong. It is very possible that mainland Chinese would follow Hong Kong to demand democracy and a time table for a one man, one vote regarding low level government in China if they knew that Hong Kong was marching for its rights.

Sun also stated that foreign internet media including the VOA were also blocked, and that many people had to get around the blockage using concealed methods to visit those websites.

Hong Kong' neighbouring Guangdong province is the only place that permits some TV programs from Hong Kong, but those programs are still closely monitored by the Chinese authority. Whenever there is a sensitive topic, the signal broadcasting the sensitive material will be cut off immediately.

Zhao Gongda, a free lance writer from Shenzhen said, “It has been like this for many years, it often happens that the program suddenly cuts off and suddenly is switched to advertisements while we are watching TV. Guangdong people are very angry about that, but what you can do? Once the Hong Kong media reports topics that Chinese authorities feel are sensitive, or if it's something that the authorities do not want mainland people to know about, they cut off the signal without hesitation, it happens very often.”

Zhao also said, because Shenzhen is quite close to Hong Kong, they received TV signals from Hong Kong, and he knew of the march on Sunday through reports from the Hong Kong TV station.

There was no report on China's largest news Blog, Sina and Sohu, about the march.

Hong Kong's South China Morning Post (SCMP) said, because of the information blockage in mainland, most of the people living in the south part of Guangdong province, which is next to Hong Kong, do not know this news. SCMP also noted that the Monday news report on the China News Agent website regarding Hong Kong were stories on the ongoing Hong Kong coral reef research as well as the Hong Kong Youth Basic Law Speech Performance Competition. The topic on the China News Service website regarding Hong Kong was a story about the security work preparation for the upcoming WTO Ministerial Conference that will be held in Hong Kong in next week.