• Fri
  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 8:08pm
Public Eye
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 November, 2013, 5:21am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 November, 2013, 5:21am

If Beijing blocked Ricky Wong then we would know all about it


Michael Chugani is a Hong Kong-born American citizen who has worked for many years as a journalist in Hong Kong, the USA and London. Aside from being a South China Morning Post columnist he also hosts ATV’s Newsline show, a radio show and writes for two Chinese-language publications. He has published a number of books on politics which contain English and Chinese versions.

Public Eye is mystified. Was the decision to grant just two free TV licences really a political one? Did the central government's liaison office really poke its unwanted nose into our business by instructing Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying  to deny Ricky Wong Wai-kay a licence because he is "uncontrollable"? That's the public belief. But if true, how did the liaison office communicate this order to Leung? With a subtle wink? A blatant phone call? How did Leung trickle the order down to the 29 official and unofficial Executive Council members? With a hint? By pulling them aside one by one? Or by telling them at the start of the meeting what the big boss wanted?  Whichever way Leung did it, surely word would have leaked from at least one of the members that Beijing had meddled in Exco matters. After all, Exco leaked like a sieve after the licence decision. We now know the names of those who didn't attend the meeting, those who said nothing and the three unofficial members who favoured a licence for Wong, including Exco convenor Lam Woon-kwong  and Beijing loyalist Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun.  How could a loyalist have defied Beijing's wishes? And why were there no leaks from Exco members revealing they were ordered to do Beijing's bidding? It's a mystery. Or it's baloney. 


Soap opera protesters in need of a reality check

Public Eye listened yesterday morning to two popular Chinese-language phone-in shows aired on RTHK and Commercial Radio. And the topic was? Not polluted air that experts now agree causes lung cancer. Not growing poverty, high rents, high home prices, the deteriorating standards of English or our declining competitiveness. The topic was our lousy TV soap operas and a campaign by internet users to punish TVB by turning off TV sets last night while the station marked its 46th anniversary with a gala show. Now you know what Hongkongers care most about. All things TV have dominated the radio shows for over a month now. Competitors Singapore and Shanghai must be scratching their heads. Gleefully, of course.


Silencing' of government critic is a storm in a teacup

The fat lady has yet to sing over the long-running TV licence soap opera but another one has already begun. This new comic book of Looney Tunes involves the shifting of Commercial Radio talk show host Lee Wai-ling  from a morning to an evening time slot. Already, the conspiracy theorists are saying it's Commercial Radio's way of silencing the abrasive government critic so it'll be ensured a licence renewal in 2016. It's just a switch of hosts, for goodness sake. That happens in TV and radio. Lee started off in the evening time slot and is just being assigned back to her old show. How is that silencing her? To silence her, you'd have to fire her. People who like listening to her can still do so in the evening. Or does free speech only exist in the morning? Maybe Hong Kong audiences only like their dose of government-bashing in the mornings. The evenings are reserved for TVB soap opera-bashing. Wake up and smell sanity, people. We have far bigger problems to deal with. 




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This article is now closed to comments

It is not just about lousy TV programs or who gets the next TV licence. It's about how CY Leung's government blatantly dismantles the many time-proven ways of conducting public affairs in Hong Kong. It's only natural that the people of Hong Kong become outraged when they see their city gradually (or not so gradually) being turned into another corrupt Chinese city. And there is no reason why we can't carry on with our normal lives and defend our core values at the same time.
I fear for your sanity and safety Mr. Chugani since now you will be labelled as someone who support the HK Govt and a few days down the road there will be tabloid "reports" that you have been seen taking midnight snacks with CY. Furthermore a site will be created in Facebook to gather support to create as much disturbance to your daily routine as possible such as throwing a fake celebration of your life on your next birthday etc. No joke here, since the mentality of HK people (% unknown) is to follow the mob even if there is no substantial proof to support whatever issue the mob is protesting about.
In ancient Chinese courts, the emperor did not need to tell his eunuchs what his wishes were. They had to second-guess, correctly, what the emperor really wanted or not. The courts of the Chinese Communist Party and, increasingly, of the Hong Kong SAR government, are no different.
Please elaborate how much freedom and liberty the HK people have lost since July 1st 1997 with supporting evidence. I am a normal HK citizen who goes to work everyday with the knowledge that if I am not paid by my boss or treated unfairly I can go to the Labour Tribunal, if someone makes a threat against me I can go to the police, scream profanities at CY or whoever who works for him without fear of being arrested, the list is getting too long here as to what I can do in HK without fear provided it is lawful. I feel free and contented that I am living in HK and what this city has to offer me.
Chugani displays an appalling ignorance of how Exco works. Members advise, the CE decides. If his decision goes against the majority view, he must record his reasons but they need not be revealed.
If it was back in the British-ruled HK days, then yes everything is as it seems, TV station is just that, Radio station is just that. A sudden change of host is just that.
But since HK is now "special" due to the very tense and unique relationahip it has with the Communist government, NOTHING is what it seems.
Everything is political and everything revolves around power and money.
Stop being so naive and ignorant Chugani.
Also, If losing freedom and liberty for Hong Kong and its citizens is not a big enough problem, pleassssse tell us what you are referring to with your "far bigger problems"?
Unfortunately, the fat lady has already sung on 1st of July 1997.
That was my thought as well - maybe he is thinking of joining the government now.
All that is needed in the Executive Council is for CY to make the decision - anyone could have just 'gotten' to him, and Ms Law as well - makes it look more convincing that it wasn't Beijing involved.
I totally agree. And nothing can be more damaging. It brought down the Ming Dynasty and weakened the Qing Dynastry. Hongkongers must continue to make our voices heard so that at least these Emperor-pleasers couldn't say that the Hong Kong people didn't care. We owe this to ourselves and our children.
So, how clean are the self righteous like yourself?
What about the pan dems' CX junkets and about face in legco to side with govt?
What will change when u and yours come into power?
Beijing may not necessarily have communicated a request to our CE but there is nothing to stop him from guessing what Beijing wants. Should our CE be honest he should hold no fears to dismissing HKTV's application honourably and with reason. The fact that he is at pains explaining the rationale for Exco's refusal speaks volumes. Initially, he said he couldnt provide in-depth reasons because one or 2 JRs were looming. When a JR was withdrawn he refused to explain and now he says its best for the court to decide through a JR.
Michael, you are perfectly entitled to have a stance but it needs to stand up to scrutiny. The Liaison Office certainly did not dispel any myths by contacting Legco members before they voted last week.




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