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Hong Kong: SC group censored June 4th special feature

Daisy, an editor from Esquire, a lifestyle magazine under South China media group in Hong Kong, disclosed in her blog that the top management banned the publication of 15 pages June 4th special feature in its latest issue. The top rank company staff, after looking at the layout, said the special feature is an act of “incitement” and told their staffs that they could resign if they disagreed. The whole process is very brutal. Below is a full translation of her blog post.

(Apology and Correction: Yesterday I mixed up SC Media group with SCMP when I submitted this post in the title. Although I edited it in less than 20mins, the feed have spread through twitter and re-tweeted by many others. Even though globabvoices has deleted the original tweet and put up a correction, we cannot control the re-tweeted messages, which appeared in the twitter search. So here, I made this public apology and correction again. All mistakes are mine and I will be more cautious in the future. )

A never to be published June 4th Special Issue

前一天還慶幸自己在一家包容性和多元性皆強的雜誌工作。

A few days ago, I was happy that I worked for a magazine that stressed diversity and tolerance.

六四專題難做,lifestyle 雜誌的六四專題更難做,論政治性新聞性,我們不比跟日報比媲,想義正嚴詞大呼平反六四又怕老氣橫秋,經過不斷的推倒重來,我們找到了方向,並實踐了。

It had been very difficult to design and work out a June 4th special issue, in particular for a lifestyle magazine. We could not compete with daily newspapers in political news and we wanted to avoid the cliche of calling for June 4th vindication. After many rounds of discussion, we finally decided on our orientation and worked it out.

文章寫好、相片拍好、layout 砌好,甚至已經送往印刷,但最後,因為大老闆的一個電話,專題被抽掉,同時,有關該期雜誌中所有提及六四字眼的文章,皆要經過修改,三小時之後,這個六四專題真的可以消失得無影無踪,彷彿從未出現過。

We had our articles, photos and layout ready. We had even delivered the files to the printing company. But in the end, because of a phone call from our big boss, the whole special feature had to be taken away. Moreover, all articles in that issue which mentioned the word “June 4th” had to be amended. In three hours, the June 4th special issue was vanished, as if it had never been existed before.

然後,一個狐假虎威的公司高層,把我和幾位相關的同事叫到會議室,會議室氣氛很凝重,我們似是犯下彌天大禍。那名高層手拿著那份專輯的 copy,上面的文字被黃色的螢光筆畫得一塌糊塗,然後她將「有問題」的句子逐句讀出,說:「這是煽動。」當然還有一堆不知所謂的說法,包括公司的決定毋須要向員工解釋,若有不滿同事可以隨時離職等屁話,還假猩猩的問大家有何意見。

The an upper rank company staff, who claimed to represent the company, summoned my colleague and me to the conference room. The meeting was very tense as if we had made some very huge mistake. That upper rank company representative took a copy of the special feature in her hand. The text was marked with highlighting pen here and there and she read aloud all the “problematic” sentences, then concluded that: “this is incitement”. She further explained that, the company did not need to explain to its staffs, if they didn't like the decision, they could resign. In the end, she asked for our opinion as if she was innocent of what she was doing.

他媽的我還可以有甚麼意見,你是老闆,你說了算,但她居然還說我像是不認同公司立場,我是打工,但不是你的走狗,無須甚麼屁都要與公司同一立場吧!你有權禁止你認為有損害公司在內地生意利益的東西刊出,你有權炒我,我有權不做,但是你不必像文字獄般逐隻字審查我那一字有煽動成份,這裡是香港,不是大陸,而且即使這份專題寫著我名字去大陸派我也不信有人要捉我去打把,別弄得像是我們犯了殺頭般的大罪似的。

What f__king opinion could we have. You are the boss and what you said would be done. She then pin pointed at me saying that I seems not to agree with the company standpoint. I am a worker, not your running dog, why should I stand with the company in all these bullshit affair? You have the right / power to ban the publication out of the company interest, you have the right to fire me, I have to right to quit, but you don't need to perform the literary inquisition, censor and mark every single word, telling us that they are incitement. This is Hong Kong, not mainland China. I dare to distribute this special feature under my real name in mainland China without the fear that they sentence me to death. How could you make us look like criminals who had committed capital punishment kind of crime.

撫心自問,是次六四專題的文字圖片內容,不算處理得特別出色,當中也沒有甚或驚天動地的內幕要爆,但是我不憤。

To be frank, the articles and photos in this special feature is not very distinctive / outstanding and we have nothing new to disclose to the public. But I am frustrated.

好可怕。我原本覺得壹傳媒偏激,但我發現,原來香港剩下願意咆哮聲音的,或許只有它了。

This is too frightening. I used to feel that the next media group was too one sided. Now I discover that it is probably the only media group left in Hong Kong dare to make noise.

好可怕。原來沒有人抹殺香港的新聞和言論自由,是我們的媒體集團為利益甘願放棄。

This is too frightening. No one is here to take away our free press and free expression, it is our own media corporates giving that up because of commercial interest.

好可怕。從前覺得內地用強硬的手段,又捉又打又軟禁的,控制人們的言行,好可怕,之後感覺近年好像好了點,到奧運時又好像再好了一點。但現在,我發現,原來軟霸權更可怕,中國強大了,他們不必再用任 physically 的手法打壓人們,只要不讓你回國經商,那麼想賺錢的人們便會乖乖收聲。我感覺如此情況還將繼續發展,中國好野!

This is too frightening. In the past, I used to feel that in mainland China, they are hard handed in controlling people's thought and speech, by means of physical detention and threat. But in recent years, there was some improvements, in particular, during the Olympics, things looked better. Now, I discovered that soft power was even more terrible. China is strong now, they don't need to use physical means to repress people, they could just close the door to your business. Those who want to make money would then shut up automatically. Such kind of situation will continue for sure, China is great!

2009年5月26日,《君子雜誌》的 143 至 156 頁被他們抽走了,但他們不能在日曆上抽了六月四日。感謝歷史讓我們看清商人的真貌。

On 26th of May 2009, Esquire took away page 143-156, but they could not take away June 4th in the calendar. Thanks history for letting us to understand the true nature of our corporate men.

South China Media group

Under the SC media group, there are a number of lifestyles and entertainment magazines including: Jessica, marie claire, HIM, Esquire, CarPlus, Xp weekly, 3 weekly, Capital Weekly, Capital Money, Capital, Capital CEO, Capital Entrepreneur and SC kid.

SC media is a subsidiary of South China Holding Limited, which is an investment holding company with subsidiaries involved in investment, financial services, media, and the manufacture of shoes, toys and micro-motors.

10 comments

  • Oiwan,
    Would it be possible for you to publish the link to Daisy’s blog post. All links in paragraph one only lead me to scmedia’s website.

  • hi C.A, thanks for pointing it out, i have edited daisy’s link: http://daisyne.xanga.com/sitemessage.aspx?user=daisyne

  • Apology and Correction: Yesterday I mixed up SC Media group with SCMP when I submitted this post in the title. Although I edited it in less than 20mins, the feed have spread through twitter and re-tweeted by many others. Even though globabvoices has deleted the original tweet and put up a correction, we cannot control the re-tweeted messages, which appeared in the twitter search. So here, I made this public apology and correction again.

  • GlobalVoicesOnline! 好久不见!I have not been here since the 2008 Olympics.
    Here’s my suggestion for Daisy:
    Why not do something groundbreaking on June 4 and publish an article on press censorship in Hong Kong? That might be distinctive/outstanding (出色)
    and disclose something new to the public. The fact that you can not do your little story is now the bigger story!

  • Richard

    Daisy’s site (link above) appears to have been closed down.

  • Can’t reach Daisy’s xanga either

  • nulle

    Either Daisy shut down her xanga site or xanga HK under pressure from you know what…

    Suggest peoplel who thinks June-4th needs to be remember to NOT DO ANY BUSINESS with anyone or any organization censoring existance of June-4th. That’s only way those organization gets the message.

    Start buying more NEXT magazines/newspapers, etc.

  • […] 在不可逾越的底線前,我們見到的是愈來愈多人,唯恐「政治正確」、忠誠不及,紛紛粉墨登場,或大放厥辭、或猜度意旨、或自作主張、或甘當爛頭卒。但是拙劣的演員,終究還是會被人噓下台的,或者是紙包不住火,醜事終究會揚開的。正如廣播劇《十八樓C座》中,周老闆經常鬧人的一句:「你唔出聲,冇人當你啞架!」出來效果差至這樣的地步,為何還要冒這一趟渾水? […]

  • pug_ster

    I have to agree with what the boss did as this is some form of self-censorship. I’m sure if they decided to put out this article, there would be alot of fengqings calling for protest to this magazine. Many companies would pull out their ads from this magazine and their bottom line would be affected. Many of their competitors would be more than happy to take up their market share.

  • I have to disagree with Pugster. Please name one company in Hong Kong that has pulled ads from a magazine based on Internet fenqing activity. None? OK, try naming one magazine in Hong Kong whose bottom line was affected by fenqing activity.
    June 4 is not taboo in Hong Kong media, but there are definitely those who choose not to cover it at all.
    In the case of Esquire, I would suggest that perhaps it would be awkward to include Tiananmen commentary in a lifestyle magazine. I doubt it would fit in with the usual articles involving men’s fashion and the latest gadgetry. Yet the mere inclusion of the date “June 4” initially made her big boss brittle.
    Nevertheless I would still like to see if Oiwan Lam can get Daisy to publish the so-called “problematic” sentences here on Global Voices Online (and Danwei) so that we can see what all the excitement was over “incitement”

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