British film producer lauded for 'unbiased' documentaries on HK
Published: Jun 26, 2022 09:48 PM
Malcolm Clarke Photo: CFP

Malcolm Clarke Photo: CFP

 Malcolm Clarke, a two-time Oscar winner for best short documentary and a 16-time Emmy winner, has made a series of documentaries on the year of social turmoil in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) in 2019, triggered by the anti-extradition protests. These documentaries, in sharp contrast to the mainstream narrative about Hong Kong in the West, have won applause from netizens and observers in the city for presenting what happened three years ago with an unbiased perspective. 

In a new interview with Hong Kong media outlet, Clarke said that he was angry and disappointed at the biased coverage of the riots in the Western narrative about the chaos. The site started to air the documentaries Hong Kong Returns starting on Thursday, featuring 10 episodes focusing on different scenarios during the social turmoil in 2019. 

The UK director, who used to work at the BBC, said that the protests were simplified by European and US media outlets, which described it as "a group of courageous young people seeking democracy against an authoritarian China."

"I am angry about these reports, because they are untrue and inaccurate. The story is more complicated than they are making out in their reports," Clarke told

Clarke pointed out that there was a discrepancy between Western coverage and what he saw on the streets, so he decided to balance the information with the documentaries. 

While Western media outlets tried to link Clarke with the Chinese government, netizens on Twitter said that they are grateful to directors like Clarke for showing what really happened in Hong Kong.

Chu Kar-kin, a veteran current affairs commentator based in Hong Kong and a member of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, told the Global Times on Sunday that three years ago, riots and violence ruined Hong Kong's law and order, and some facts and stories were at that time ignored by the Western media, while testimonials from witnesses on the scene about violence were not reported by them. 

"Some press selectively took a stance while reporting and making up stories. Locals and the world were misled. Now, Clarke's documentaries have revealed some of the facts. As a local, I personally concur with Clarke's coverage so far. At least, it is not biased," Chu said. "The documentary gives the mainstream Western opinion a slap on the face... I think Hong Kong people who suffered physically and psychologically deserve an apology from these opinions, which led to widespread rumors. They abused their integrity and duty of care for reporting without fact checking."

In a sharp contrast, when another controversial documentary entitled Revolution of Our Times, which glorified the violence and tried to justify illegal activities during the social turmoil, won the prize for "best documentary" at the so-called Chinese language "Oscars" in 2021, some Western media outlets highlighted sensational details mentioned by the director. For example, the film was dedicated to those "who have a conscience, justice and have cried for Hong Kong."

A number of Chinese filmmakers and industry observers lamented that the Golden Horse Awards have become a pathetic tool kidnapped by politics, completely betraying the original aspiration of providing tasteful products for the public. 

They stressed that Clarke's documentaries present a different voice in a Western world that has predominantly applauded violence.