Donald Tsang

Overseas news release written in Chinese only for ... Chinatown readers abroad, perhaps?

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 October, 2010, 12:00am

The government news agency, it seems, goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid producing press releases in English these days.

But even by its standards, this latest summary of a post-policy address conference, given by Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, takes the cake. It is issued by the Information Services Department's subdivision for overseas public relations. Its audience is, presumably, overseas, and English is, after all, an international language.

But, true to form, the subdivision issued a Chinese-only summary. Perhaps it only aims at people in overseas Chinatowns.

This follows another Chinese-only release based on a Department of Statistics questionnaire on care for racial minorities under the title: 'No one should be left out: the population survey has the racial minorities at heart.' Love the language-inclusiveness here.

These may be absurd, but they are not isolated cases. According to a study by the Hong Kong Journalists Association, Chinese-only press releases issued by the Information Services Department outnumbered English-only releases by more than five to one.

It's not that I am especially partial to English, but it may need pointing out that it is one of the city's two official languages.