Outspoken Hong Kong radio host Li Huiling was abruptly fired on Feb. 12 from her commentary show on Hong Kong Commercial Radio. Established in 1959, the station has long been regarded as a barometer for freedom of speech in the region. What really makes people’s hair stand on end is this is only one of many incidents of Hong Kong media suppression lately.
Twenty-three pan-democrats within the Hong Kong Legislative Council issued a joint statement calling on the radio station to explain the reason for Li’s dismissal.
Li held a press conference and pointed out directly that Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, designated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), was behind her firing. “I totally think it’s a crackdown on press freedom and free speech from the Leung Chun-ying government.”
Cen Yilan, chairman of the Hong Kong Association of reporters, said that freedom of the press in Hong is under attack. People in Hong Kong believe that their future is in the hands of the CCP, and unless something drastic happens in the mainland, Hong Kong cannot escape.
During the press conference, Li confirmed that her dismissal was related to the station’s license renewal application. “It’s a shame that a broadcast station has to kowtow for a license renewal,” Li said.
“You want us to be silent, but we are going to explode in silence” was the theme of the press conference, which attracted many reporters.
Cen claimed that the station’s behavior was reckless and insulting. “Now, the CCP doesn’t want to kill the frog slowly in warm water, but rather kill it fast in boiling water.”
Other recent cases of suppression 0f Hong Kong media include: The CCP appointing the new chief editor of the South China Morning Post, turning it into a “red” newspaper; the firing of Wu Zhisen from the Hong Kong Radio Station; an attack on the street of the founder of Sun Affairs magazine; appointing a pro-CCP chief editor to the Hong Kong Economic Journal; a cyber-attack on the House News Web site and the Hong Kong In-Media Web site, Digital Broadcasting Corp. went off the air; and Ming Pao’s chief editor was transferred.
According to NTD Television: “French organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) published their World Press Freedom Index 2013 on Feb. 13. Hong Kong fell to No.61, while Mainland China is No.175. Hong Kong was No.18 in 2002, the top rating in Asia.”
Hong Kong media is clearly undergoing what the CCP calls “harmonizing.”