The fine art of manufactured censorship

In these sensitive times, it’s hard to tell whether the politically motivated are falling victim to censorship or are just faking their own victimhood

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 January, 2018, 6:43am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 January, 2018, 6:43am

It has become increasingly difficult in Hong Kong to tell whether some people are being politically persecuted and censored, or if they just fake their own victimhood.

Ventus Lau Wing-hong, of the radical localist alliance Community Network Union, used the student union of City University to book a campus venue at the weekend to announce his intention to enter the March by-election as a candidate for the New Territories East seat in the legislature. When school administrators discovered that the union – run by localist/separatist student leaders – wasn’t the one organising the venue but that an outsider was using it to launch a political campaign, they cancelled it.

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Now, instead of a nobody with no hope of winning in a Legislative Council by-election, Lau got his news headlines by claiming political censorship, a sensitive topic in local universities these days.

Speaking of academic censorship, biology researcher Roger Wong Hoi-fung last week called a press conference to claim his contract, set to expire in August, wasn’t to be renewed at Baptist University. This was because he tried but failed to be elected as one of 36 local deputies to the National People’s Congress while running on a pan-democratic platform.

In fact, he has not been told whether his contract would be renewed. He merely suspected it wouldn’t because of what he heard, he said, from “reliable sources”. But why would the university be angry that he tried to join the NPC? He himself admitted he had no evidence; only “the timing” of the two events led him to make the connection.

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A fine example to students: when you suspect you are about to lose your job, call the press and claim persecution. But wait, our students are already masters at playing the media.

Localist students at Hong Kong College of Technology and Our Lady’s College in Wong Tai Sin had made sure reporters were present at their protests, then claimed censorship when they were either kicked out from the event or told not to do it on school premises.

In 2016, our world-famous dissident Joshua Wong Chi-fung claimed that HSBC was targeting him by refusing to open an account for his political group. In fact, tough anti-terrorist and money-laundering rules have made it difficult to open many types of accounts at international banks.

These people make their own news. And if they fail, they can always claim media censorship.