Asia Minute: Media Used Differently with Hong Kong Protests

Sep 6, 2019

As Hong Kong heads into another weekend, residents are bracing for more protests. But the city government is taking a different approach.

Newspaper advertising isn’t what it used to be, but it’s still the medium of choice for the government of Hong Kong to push out a message to the business world.

Full-page ads are going into publications in various global cities this weekend – showing the city’s skyline and several paragraphs making the case that Hong Kong remains a “free and open society and economy.”

The ad says the government remains committed to the “one country, two systems” structure that guarantees certain rights to Hong Kong residents. The message also rejects violence, and upholds the right to peaceful protest---concluding on a note of resilience: “We will no doubt bounce back. We always do.”

The latest developments in Hong Kong got a different reaction from China’s state-run media.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s withdrawal of the extradition bill that sparked the original protests got little coverage in China’s domestic media. The English-language China Daily, primarily aimed at a foreign audience, did run an editorial headlined “HK Protestors Now Have No Excuse to Continue Violence.”

In Hong Kong itself, stories pointing out that four other demands remain unanswered mostly called the withdrawal of the extradition treaty “too little, too late.” But the South China Morning Post quoted protestors who used more colorful language--calling the action a “band-aid on rotting flesh.”