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Hong Kong: Say No to CCTVB

Categories: East Asia, China, Hong Kong (China), Digital Activism, Freedom of Speech, History, Human Rights, Media & Journalism, Politics, Protest

On 4th of June, there were more than 150,000 Hong Kong citizens gathered in and around the Victoria Park to commemorate the 20 anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre. The number of attendees has broken the record since 1990, telling the world that Hong Kong people have not given up the demand for vindication of June 4th. However, more than half of the local newspapers and the most viewed TV station decided to downplay the news.

ESWN collected the front page of local newspapers on June 5 [1]. Among the 13 Chinese newspapers, only 4 had placed the candle night vigil on the frontpage. Headline News and Sing Pao put the passing away of a local actor Sek Kin on the front page; Hong Kong Commerical Press and Hong Kong Economic Journal put up the interview of the future-to-be CEO of Hong Kong stock exchange; Sing Tao, Hong Kong Daily News, Oriental Daily and the Sun highlight stories on youth's deviant behavior – drug abuse and sex work. Wen Wei Po stressed Chinese government's favorable polices to Hong Kong. Below are the images of the 4 cover stories (via ESWN):

june 4 2009

The Backbone of China, The Vanguard of History 200,000 Commemorate 6.4 in Sorrow

she kin

Sek Kin passes away from illness

stock exchange

Li Xiaojia: Need to be familiarized with Hong Kong market Affirms the contribution of Chinese capital agents

youth drug abuse

Sniffed ketamine early inside park Three students unconscious

Apart from printed papers, T.V company's self-censorship have more pervasive effect in Hong Kong as television broadcasting sector is highlight monopolized because of the government's license policy. There are currently only 2 over-the-air commercial television station in Hong Kong, TVB and ATV, and the Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) alone [2], has taken up 80% of viewership. In recent year, there are more and more criticisms saying that the TVB's news department has been harmonized (adopting self-censorship).

On June 4, the TVB Jade (Chinese) channel placed the candle night vigil in the third news item and outraged many people. A citizen took action to protest against the TV news department by holding a slogan in front of the camera when the reporter was having live report. Here is the youtube record:

The paper banner said:

無線新聞 事事旦旦

TVB news, a sloppy production

Erynnyes from those were the days commented on TVB news June 4th report [3]:


Yesterday the most discussed topic was probably not how many people had attended the June 4 candle night vigil, not Richard Lee's private life, but the protest banner of “TVB news, a sloppy production” shown during the CCTVB's live broadcast. My friend A told me that the CCTVB news department leader Yuen Chi Wai was very angry about the incident. But as my friend A said, we could not complain about the heavenly disaster but this is a man-made choice. It is so obvious even to ordinary people that Yuen Chi Wai had downplayed the release of Zhao Ziyang memoirs. On June 4, CCTVB even placed the news to the third news session. How can anyone defend for what it had done?


If we want to vindicate June 4, we need to defend press freedom. If we failed, there is no way to strike for June 4 vindication and democracy. If local press practice self-censorship, how can we expect Hong Kong people to voice out? Now that CCTVB and ATV has fallen into CCTV, this is only a start. Hong Kong people have to defend local media to protect them from central government's harmonizing pressure.

He pointed out that the arrangement was not a careless mistake but a well thought arrangement that completely against professional journalistic judgment [4]:


On June 4, the headline of CCTVB in 6:30pm is “three boy fainted in a Tinshiuwai park due to drug abuse”. Well, this can still be considered a piece of news. However, the second item is “Legco has passed the motion to construct Hong Kong island western subway line”. That motion was only passed by a discussion group on railway affair of the transportation committee of the Legislative Council. It isn't any railway affair committee in the Legco, the report is misleading in the first place. The so-called committee is just a discussion group within the transportation affair committee. What is the significance of such news? Usually CCTVB won't even report on standard committee's meeting, why then decided to put the discussion group's decision before the June 4 candle night vigil where 150,000 people had attended?

Netizens started making fun of TVB by calling it CCTVB, a sister company of its China counterpart CCTV. In the facebook [5], a group was formed to protest against CCTVB and netizens have designed new logos for it: