Media, online groups, foreign interference 'top anti-China forces’

By Wang Qi and Cui Fandi Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/11 21:34:47

Lai’s arrest just start of HK clean-up: experts

Jimmy Lai File Photo: AFP

 Experts said that those who threaten Hong Kong's security and stability will finally pay a price after the enactment of the national security law for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). Media tycoon and riot supporter Jimmy Lai won't be the last one, especially when it comes to lawbreakers who incite violence and smear the government through propaganda photos and videos that are full of lies.

From the opposition to the enactment of Article 23 of Hong Kong's Basic Law, to the Moral and National Education controversy in 2012 and the Occupy Central movement in 2014, as well as the anti-extradition bill unrest in 2019, anti-China propaganda from local news outlets, social organizations and foreign forces had played an important role, observers said. 

Leo Chan, a Hong Kong resident who used to study in the Chinese mainland, told the Global Times on Tuesday that he had been cheated and misled by some media outlets. "Some Hong Kong media somehow have an obsession to smear the mainland in terms of human rights and freedom, gradually forming a superiority complex… Unfortunately, some people who get their information from Apple Daily think they know the truth," Chan said.

The result of a 2019 poll launched by the Center for Communication and Public Opinion Survey, under the Chinese University of Hong Kong, showed that the overall credibility of Hong Kong's press was at its lowest ebb since 2006. 

Some local observers said that if a society is full of contradictions and the media deviates from professional norms, credibility will decline. Apple Daily - owned by Jimmy Lai - which incites and glorifies violence, smears the Hong Kong police and spreads rumors, is responsible for the declining credibility of the Hong Kong media. 

The media environment will definitely improve after Lai's arrest. Regulating media outlets like Apple Daily can help build a healthier environment, Li Xiaobing, an expert on Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan affairs from Nankai University, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

Police raided the Next Media Headquarters, mother company of Apple Daily on Monday under a court warrant and seized 25 boxes of exhibits, which were regarded as critical evidence to identify underground political networks and money flows of the secessionists. External interference might also be disclosed. 

However, Li noted that public opinion in Hong Kong will not be immediately rectified as there are other groups and people like Lai in Hong Kong that have been colluding with foreign forces overtly and covertly for years, inciting Hong Kong people to oppose the Chinese central government and the HKSAR government, and providing funds for local secessionist organizations.

Former "Scholarism" member Wilson Li and "Hong Kong Story" member Andy Li were involved in an anti-China group "Lanchao," which means "burn with us" in Chinese. Hong Kong outlets said the group is closely bonded with a London-based anti-China group called Hong Kong Watch, which manipulated the UK's All-Party Parliamentary Group Hong Kong to stigmatize the Hong Kong police. 

Leaders of the group begged the US for sanctions against Hong Kong officials. Hong Kong media reported that the group supported rioters financially, with about $1.82 million in total. 

In the latest crowd funding drive launched by the group on US-based website, just before the enactment of the national security law for Hong Kong, the group collected about $1.7 million for the project called "Rise From the Ashes." Although most donors remain anonymous, experts said they have violated the law. 

Online platforms like LIHKG, Facebook and Telegram were also widely used to create and spread rumors among Hong Kong youth. Hundreds of posters and pictures per day on average were produced by rioters for propaganda and to incite violence, and there were even guidelines and textbooks for attacking police and producing Molotov cocktails on these platforms, the Xinhua News Agency reported. 

The street violence brought fear and chaos. Rumors like "a man was killed in a metro station," "a woman was shot blind by police," and "a pregnant woman was raped" were ceaselessly created and then proved groundless. 

The public opinion environment in Hong Kong was overly open in the past, but anti-China forces, who were accustomed to putting the "fourth power" - media - above the law, have seen their time run out with the national security legislation, Fan Peng, a research fellow from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of Political Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

In the future, people who mess up Hong Kong will undoubtedly pay a price, Fan said, noting that more cases will refine and enrich the content of the national security legislation in Hong Kong.


blog comments powered by Disqus