Hong Kong's RTHK to Air More 'Patriotic' Content Lauding Ruling Party

The Hong Kong government announces a long-term partnership with the state-owned China Media Group to supply Beijing-approved media content for local audiences.
2021.08.09
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Hong Kong's RTHK to Air More 'Patriotic' Content Lauding Ruling Party Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam seen at her weekly press conference on July 6, 2021. says Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) will rebroadcast content produced by China's state media, to build a sense of patriotism and "Chinese identity" among the city's seven million residents.
AFP

Hong Kong's public broadcaster will soon be required to step its "patriotic" content and air shows and movies lauding the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the city's leader has revealed.

Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) will rebroadcast content produced by China's state media, to build a sense of patriotism and "Chinese identity" among the city's seven million residents, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Monday.

Lam told a broadcasting launch event marking the CCP centenary in Hong Kong that RTHK would form a long-term partnership with the state-owned China Media Group and "coordinate with the group’s work on Hong Kong."

She said RTHK's TV 31 channel would also be airing a range of dramas and documentaries produced by China's state broadcaster CCTV.

Lam said she was "a fan" of CCTV, and that the China-produced content would "nurture a stronger sense of patriotism."

TV31, which has been screening "The Glory of Youth" since July 19 in honor of the centenary, will start to air "The Great Journey," a film about key moments in CCP history.

RTHK is also expected to produce more of its own programs aimed at promoting the national security law, which was imposed on Hong Kong by the CCP from July 1, 2020, and increased integration with neighboring cities in mainland China.

RTHK said it had a duty to fulfill its mission as a public service broadcaster.

"Broadcasting more mainland programs and developing a long-term partnership with the China Media Group is in line with the charter," the broadcaster said in a statement on Monday.

'How can you build your patriotism?'

Wang Songmiao, secretary general of the CCP's Central Liaison Office in Hong Kong, said in a speech at the same event that it would be fitting for Hong Kong audiences to see more content generated by China's state-controlled media.

"As we all know, Hong Kong belongs to China, and the CCP is China's ruling party," Wang said. "As a citizen, if you don't have a comprehensive and accurate understanding of the history of your country and its ruling party, how can you build your patriotism?"

"Chinese culture, including party history and national history, is the spiritual bond that maintains all Chinese people, including our compatriots in Hong Kong," Wang told guests at the launch event.

He said the Liaison Office would also run a series of exhibitions, public forums and educational activities on the history of the CCP and the People's Republic of China.

Political columnist To Yiu-ming said the move would likely have an impact on people's sense of what it means to be a Hongkonger.

"Doing more propaganda and reducing criticism will only serve to blur the difference between right and wrong, or even distort them altogether," To told RFA.

"Public broadcasters are supposed to provide a platform for people to exchange opinions without fear," he said. "If we start hearing more and more of one side of the debate, the debate will atrophy around a rigid sense of political correctness."

"This will hinder free discussion, engender fear and prevent impartiality," he said.

Current affairs commentator Johnny Lau said the move is part of the CCP's ideological campaign to win hearts and minds in Hong Kong in the wake of the 2019 protest movement.

"They use propaganda as an educational tool, hoping to have more of an impact on the next generation," Lau said. "Little pink CCP supporters have been absorbing this kind of ideology for a long time now."

He said that the move marks the "loss" of RTHK as a genuine public service broadcaster, however.

Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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