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Occupy Central

He's back: the rapid return of 'Radio Stephen Shiu'

Online broadcaster with a political mission follows shock closure with shock new online station - and an end to party financing

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 April, 2013, 4:46am

Just weeks after suddenly closing one of the city's biggest prodemocracy radio stations, Stephen Shiu Yeuk-yuen revealed he is to launch a new one in June to carry on his fight for political freedom.

Shiu, who vowed not to support any political party financially in the future, also endorsed the Occupy Central movement which had been at the heart of the conflict that led to his shock decision last month to close down Hong Kong Reporter.

He said at the time that he was "disappointed" with People Power members, including lawmaker Wong Yuk-man. It followed Wong's vague stance towards the possibility of aggressive behaviour during the planned Occupy Central protest. He has said that violence could not be "ruled out".

The Occupy Central movement, spearheaded by law academic Benny Tai Yiu-ting, has triggered intense debate over its call for at least 10,000 people to block traffic in the heart of the city in July next year unless the government delivers an acceptable proposal for universal suffrage.

Now, in an interview with the South China Morning Post, Shiu has made it clear he supports the movement and Tai's stance that the civil disobedience involved in taking over the streets would be "absolutely non-violent".

Shui, who founded the defunct Chinese-language news portal Cyber Daily with Wong, also questioned whether People Power was actually prepared to participate in the movement, which is expected to take centre stage in local politics in the months ahead.

"If you listen to what Wong … has been saying about Occupy Central in the past weeks, [Wong and his supporters] are strongly opposing it, and attacking those in support of it," he said.

Shiu insisted politicians should be clear on support for non-violent action. "Otherwise you will lose majority support and the people will hesitate from joining the protest," Shiu added.

Shiu did not regret supporting radical groups such as People Power and the League of Social Democrats, because he believes they made pan-democrats progressive, rather than "passive".

"[In the past,] they just voted in Legco; got defeated repeatedly; and went home - that's it. I think that didn't work," Shiu said. "You must use all active means to put pressure on the administration." Shiu, 63, did not reveal the name of his new station.

He set up Hong Kong Reporter in 2004, changing its name from People's Station in 2005. In recent years, it became a platform for radical ideas and helped mobilise support for firebrand political party People Power, including its protests and activities.

Outside the political arena, Shiu is a screenwriter and film producer whose works include 1992 Hong Kong Film Awards winner To Be Number One. After the handover, Shiu was a co-host on a Metro Radio current affairs programme before starting up his own stations online.

Shiu said he was disappointed that Hong Kong Reporter had not become a big player.

His new station would continue to be a platform for "civic education" - such as encouraging public awareness about current affairs and critical thinking - but would be scaled down, with just 15 hours a week of broadcasts, including shows devoted to finance and film.

Shiu said he lost HK$15 million running the radio station and had spent more than HK$3 million in support of People Power over the years. "The new radio station will not support any political party," Shiu said.

Wong could not be reached for comment by press time.