My Take

Why radio reshuffle should be welcome news for Hong Kong

China National Radio broadcasts should be seen as adding value despite critics claiming reduced BBC World Service coverage smacks of ‘mainlandisation’

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 September, 2017, 12:18am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 September, 2017, 12:18am

The anti-mainland hysteria is getting ridiculous. A reshuffling of radio programmes on RTHK has led to a reduction in the amount of time the BBC World Service is given each day.

RTHK has also added the Hong Kong edition of China National Radio (CNR) to its FM service.

What’s more natural for a publicly funded station in Hong Kong to run – Putonghua programmes from a state-run radio service about the city and the mainland or the British public broadcaster?

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Yet, some critics are crying censorship and “mainlandisation”. There is also an online petition calling for the full reinstatement of the BBC service and it had collected 1,086 signatures by yesterday morning.

Here is a report from a local news website, though it reads more like an opinion piece: “The CNR broadcast includes news, culture and lifestyle programming mostly in Mandarin – the language most commonly spoken in mainland China.

“Only some of its content is in Cantonese, which is the dominant language of Hong Kong, leading to criticism that this was another step towards the ‘mainlandisation’ of Hong Kong.”

In place of the CNR and Mandarin/Putonghua, someone could have written the same about the BBC and English.

Mainlandisation? What about neocolonialism? By the way, more people (48 per cent) speak Putonghua in Hong Kong than English (46 per cent), according to census data.

But let’s stop all this silly name-calling and political sensationalism. I love the BBC. I watch it every day on the telly and the internet. When I am out, I sometimes access it on my mobile phone. And that’s the point. It’s free and you can get it anywhere anytime.

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Why do you have to listen to it on RTHK? Besides, you can still get to hear it from 11pm to 7am on RTHK Radio 4, and the local station provides a link to the 24-hour BBC World Service on its website.

The CNR broadcasts will be value-added. Listen to them or not; they will just bring more variety. I know, we fear and hate everything about the mainland.

According to a new University of Hong Kong survey of 800 locals, mainlanders are the least liked of more than a dozen peoples. Taiwanese and Singaporeans are the most liked.

Interestingly, Americans are the second least liked.

Given our animosities, wouldn’t it make sense to show more mainland programmes to promote cross-border understanding? Don’t tell me you think that’s “brainwashing”.