HONG KONG'S media, fearful of China's harassment of journalists, is being cowed into self-censorship, and media proprietors are following suit, according to a US State Department report on the territory's human rights. Although the document praises Hong Kong's freedom of expression and civil liberties, it warns: 'Several incidents during the year had a chilling effect on Hong Kong's media and on the media's judgments of the future press environment after 1997.' In Macau, the situation was worse, the department's annual report said, spelling out harassment of journalists by the authorities, and a Judiciary which is coming under the influence of the mainland. Other concerns raised about Hong Kong's civil rights include: The Government's reluctance to enact major human rights protection, including the setting up of a human rights commission; Slow localisation of the civil service, where 'Hong Kong Chinese are seriously under-represented in senior government positions'. Violence and workplace discrimination against women, described as 'significant problems'. The crackdown by Correctional Services officers on Vietnamese migrants at Whitehead and other camps last year. On press freedom, the report cites numerous causes for concern during 1994, many of which it believes are increasing the trend towards self-censorship. These include Xinhua's (the New China News Agency's) admission that it collects information on 'un-patriotic' residents; the 12-year sentence handed down in China to Ming Pao reporter Xi Yang; the retaliation by China against Giordano boss Jimmy Lai Chee-ying after an editorial in his Next magazine critical of premier Li Peng; and the row over ATV's decision not to screen a controversial documentary on the 1989 Beijing massacre. Also included is STAR TV's removal of BBC News from its northern footprint, apparently over China's anger at its coverage. The report says: 'Journalists report that such self-censorship is also increasing for commercial reasons, as Hong Kong-based media organisations which are expanding their ties in China seek to avoid offending the Chinese Government.' On localisation, the department notes that 'expatriates remain in key positions in the Legal Department and Judiciary'. On women's rights, domestic violence is called a serious problem because of the community's cultural reluctance to report it. The document adds: 'Women face discrimination in areas of employment, salary, welfare, inheritance and promotion. Discrimination on the basis of age . . . is openly practised.' The report on Macau carries stronger criticism, not least because the authorities are seen as being implicated in the attack on the media - including a jump in prosecutions of reporters under press freedom statutes.