As Hong Kong marks the eighth anniversary today of its return to Chinese rule, its news media are struggling to preserve the independence that set them apart from the mainland’s tightly controlled government presses.
On the surface, little has changed since the former British colony reverted to Chinese rule on July 1, 1997. Hong Kong still is home to one of the most dynamic media markets in Asia. But critics say that Beijing has been curbing the media’s freedom so gradually that it’s easy to miss and that Hong Kong’s fears of losing its identity are starting to be realized.
“China should congratulate itself on the new media atmosphere in Hong Kong,” said Law Yuk Kai, director of the Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor. “It’s clear they don’t want to give pro-democratic forces a big voice.”