Week 3: “Post-80s” by Karen, Janice, Vanessa & Yannie

“Post-80s” is a newly risen term in Hong Kong and it becomes a hot and controversial issue recently. After a series of political incidents such as the consultation of political reform and the protest of express rail, this term is being further emphasized and concerned in the society. In Mainland China, the term, “post-80s”, has appeared a few years ago simply meaning the generation who was born in 1980s under the one-child policy. On the other hand, it has just become popular in Hong Kong since the late 2009. During the demonstration on the New Year’s Day outside the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government, it is not difficult to find more youngsters in the procession. For opposing the construction of express rail, a group of youngsters originated the post-80s anti-express rail group. They did not only protest in front of the Legislative Council building, some of them even launched hungry strike and penance in order to express their opinion and try to stop passing the funding. After a series of actions, the post-80s are generally described and stereotyped as radical and irrational. Even the Chief Executive, Donald Tsang, has also strongly criticized their behaviors to the public.

Some people comment that the post-80s only request and try maximizing their rights without devoting themselves to the community. Such an argument may easily fall into hasty generalization. Even if the young adults who recently appear in the controversial news of the anti-express rail are those who try speaking up and drawing the society’s attention meaninglessly, they cannot represent the whole population of the 80s.

The destruction of Choi Yuen Tsuen in the plan of the express rail has made a group of teenagers stand up to against the construction. Gradually, the phrase, “post-80s”, is widely used by the Hong Kong media to initially describe Hong Kong teenagers and young adults who are born in the 1980’s. In a clearer definition, “post-80s” are the local youth who actively participate in political and social campaigns. However, this term has fallen into the fallacy of hasty generalization. The Hong Kong media has over generalized this particular population. Some news agencies use this term as a gimmick to arouse public about the anti-express rail assembly. All the post-80s have been forced to be engaged in the incident and assumed to more or less support the anti-express rail group. Therefore, this term is not fair to those juveniles who were not involved in the campaign. Now more and more youngsters have started to state that they are not violent. Some of them even support the construction of express rail.

Meanwhile, there is always some criticism stating that the young generation is not initiative enough in participating in the work of creating a better future for the community. Hence, it should be a pleasant phenomenon to witness those young adults assemble together and express their opinions. Unfortunately, their action was interpreted as immature and helpless by most of the media.

There is no doubt that the demonstrants have made disharmony to our society. However, as inspired from history, march or revolution are common milestones before one nation evolved. A variety of diversified ideas and comments can hence help paving the way to the community’s development. The young, energetic, creative and courageous group of people is usually the invigorative party to help the government ruling the community by responding to the government policies. Similar to the post-60’s or post-70’s, the post-80’s is just one of the parties described as above who attempt to devote themselves to the society and bring themselves a better future.

In fact, the Hong Kong young generation has always been labeled who is not caring about the social and political issues. The Financial Secretary, John Tsang, criticized that the local youth are good at nothing but “expecting too much” from the society and “only focusing on the facilities of club house”. After the anti-rail express incident, more and more youngsters have increased their awareness of current affairs. Their movement has encouraged young people to concern more and be critical to the government policies. Being the masters of future, youngsters’ participation is crucial to the development of Hong Kong.

As we are being one of the “post-80s”, indeed our generation is now facing more and more difficulties. Though we are better educated, it does not mean that we will have a better prospect. From 1997 handover, 911-terror attack, SARS attack to the later financial tsunami triggered in 2008, Hongkongers are encountering even more challenges nowadays as the future is unforeseeable. Comparing with the previous and the later generations, the post-80s is a relative weak group who does not have much power to say. However, as we have nothing to lose so we dare to fight for truth and justice and our conscience is clear. Though we cannot totally agree with the actions that some of the post-80s have taken, but their courage and faith are definitely demonstrating the preciousness of being youth. A healthy and sustainable society undoubtedly needs this kind of people and voices to maintain the balance.

Good Night and Good Luck (2005) Movie Review

Ming Fearon & Jackie Wang

We watched Good Night and Good Luck, which was a 2005 movie directed by George Clooney. The title refers to the phrase Edward R. Murrow said each night when he signed off of the air. Murrow was a broadcast journalist whose most notable achievement was in helping to stop Senator Joseph McCarthy’s influence on America during the late 1950s.

On a purely aesthetic level, we appreciated the movie for its stylish use of black and white footage and the authenticity of its presentation of 1950s America. The movie itself was very compelling because it demonstrates the power of the media. During that era, Cold War tensions were at their highest, and Senator McCarthy of Wisconsin fueled fears that there was a communist infiltration in the American government. People began wildly accusing neighbors and even friends of communism in order to avoid being suspected of communism themselves. During this time, a simple unsubstantiated accusation was enough to bring someone to trial for espionage and plotting against the U.S. government. This behavior became known as “McCarthyism.” Its influence was so powerful that it ruined lives and even caused people to commit suicide if they were accused of communism. In the film Don Hollenbeck, who was a colleague of Murrow’s and fellow commentator on CBS, committed suicide after breaking under the pressures that came with being an accused communist sympathizer.

In Good Night and Good Luck, Murrow publicly denounced McCarthy’s extreme practices on his show See It Now. In his rebuttal, McCarthy accused Murrow himself of communist practices without any evidence backing the claims. Ultimately, Murrow more or less humiliated McCarthy on air by pointing out the weaknesses of both McCarthy’s arguments and logic. These See It Now episodes helped to bring down Senator McCarthy and his influence on the American public because Murrow was able to point out the melodrama and ridiculousness of McCarthy’s arguments.

An important message that Good Night and Good Luck presented to us is how the mass public will believe almost anything it is told, including what one should fear, as long as the media or government appears to present some sort of legitimacy to its claims, no matter how dubious they are. What was so impressive about what Murrow and his producers did was that they went against not only the hysteria of the public and the intimidating practices of the government, but also the admonishments of their sponsors and the highest executives at CBS. They stood up for what they believed in even in the face of being fired from their jobs and being blacklisted by the government.

In presenting this film to the class, the professor stated that Good Night and Good Luck is an excellent example of the pressures that journalists, especially hard-hitting investigative journalists, must face, and we agree.

Karen, Kason, Man, Winnie: Week 3 "Death of Hong Kong"

Response to the article “The Death of Hong Kong

A fictional scene of Hong Kong after the 1997 Handover is exaggerated in the article “The Death of Hong Kong” by Louis Kraar. He uses the article to reflect the western perception of “reality”, portraying that the future of Hong Kong is “over”. Though the media are often said to be the “mirror of reality,” it appears that the prediction of Hong Kong’s future is not totally “real”.

In the article, it hypothesizes about Hong Kong after the Handover, affirming that Hong Kong is “over” after 1997. However, it is shown that many of these hypotheses were not correct. For example, the author stated that Renminbi (RMB) would replace the Hong Kong’s currency. He pointed out that Central Government would not allow two different currencies occur in the same nation. Referring to today’s Hong Kong situation, it is obvious that this prediction was wrong.

Meanwhile, Britain provides a high degree of freedom for Hong Kong. In contrast, China tends to implement strict controls in the nation. So, the article argues that after the Handover, Hong Kong would be a tightly governed Chinese city. The concept of “One Country, Two Systems” would be a bogus issue. The freedom of Hong Kong citizens would be deprived, such as press freedom, speech freedom and even the freedom on business running. Capitalism may vanish and invaded by communism. There is a solid indicator showing that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of freedom in the business environment. According to the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom conducted by The Wall Street Journal, Hong Kong is ranked the first in 18 years consecutively. It reflects that after the Handover, China endeavors to minimize the restriction on Hong Kong’s economic freedom.

Then what does the article correctly predict? The article mentioned that China would plan to replace Hong Kong’s elected legislature with appointed members. The election methods support the correctness of this assumption. In the Basic Law, there is a statement to fix the remains of the Functional Constituency in the Legislation electoral system in favor of the Central government. Even though all the Legco-members are supposed to be elected by Hong Kong citizens rather than appointed by the Chinese government, the Functional Constituency election is just an alternative appointment. The reason is that the legislators of the Functional Constituency came mostly from the business fields who are believed to be more pro-Central government.

After commenting on the article, we found that most of the predictions were wrongly assumed. Now, we would like to specifically examine how China is beneficial for Hong Kong. The Handover is not necessarily leading Hong Kong to “Death”, but fostering the development of Hong Kong.

After the Handover, China plays a stronger economic role for Hong Kong. There are many economic policies that are benefiting Hong Kong, such as CEPA (Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement) and Individual Visit Scheme for Mainlanders.

CEPA strengthens trade and investment cooperation between Mainland China and Hong Kong. It also promotes the joint development of the two areas. Through eliminating tariffs and non-tariff barrier on trading, many Hong Kong companies take this advantage to expand their business into China. Meanwhile, the Individual Visit Scheme shortens the procedures for Mainlanders to visit Hong Kong. It is an important police to boost up Hong Kong’s economy during the economic recession in 2003.

More significantly, after the Handover, more and more Chinese-based companies are listed in Hong Kong. It leads Hong Kong’s stock market to a thriving development. All the above-mentioned policies are executed after 1997. We can see that Hong Kong is different from the prediction of the article. Comparatively, China provides a lot of economic opportunities for Hong Kong. Through collaboration with China, Hong Kong sustains the position of international financial center.

Apart from the economic aspect, China Central government allows Hong Kong to enjoy the high degree of autonomy. Hong Kong has the executive, legislative and independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication. The principle of “One Country, Two Systems” is protecting Hong Kong’s capitalism. What’s more? Central government guarantees the society, the lifestyles and the rights of Hong Kong people shall remain unchanged for 50 years. So, the invasion of communism is different from the assumption of the article.

To conclude, the author of “The Death of Hong Kong” is afraid that the Handover would change Hong Kong from a capitalized city to a communist city. As a result, Hong Kong is no longer a favorable environment for business operations. The article also assumes that the tragedy of Tiananmen Crackdown in 1989 might occur in Hong Kong. However, these predictions did not emerge in the current Hong Kong situation. Central government allows Hong Kong to maintain a high level of independent city and provides a strong support for Hong Kong. These supports pave Hong Kong’s way to a bright future.






Week 3 The media role under the passing of the high speed railway (By Ivan,Ann and Cherry)

The media role under the passing of the high speed railway

Faced with such strong opposition, Hong Kong's high-speed railway funding applications finally were passed by the Legislative Council on 4th December. We can see a lot of news reported by different kinds of media from newspaper, television, radio and etc. Even the general public who didn’t follow this news will also get lots of information from different media channels. However, what we can see is how rude and crazy those so called “after 80’s” demonstrators colliding with Hong Kong Legislative Council. Are they really so irrational and non-peaceful?

After a few days of the collision of the Legislative Council, tons of online discussions were concerning about the demonstration on that day. Tons of people say that they are demonstrating in a peaceful way, such as a sit-in demonstration and peaceful parade. And also the main purpose is just to dialogue with the secretary for transport and housing, Ms Eva Cheng but she refused to do so. However, a few days before the passing of the funding, I could see the secretary for transport and housing, Ms Eva Cheng and the chief executive, Mr. Donald Tsang were so responsively and kindly to introduce the high quality of Wuhan-Guangzhou high-speed railway and promised the public they would have a conversation with those demonstrators through different kinds of media respectively. Indeed, our secretary for transport and housing, Ms Eva Cheng said that there was a potential risk and finally she listened to the police’s advice not to meet with the protesters. And the Hong Kong's high-speed railway funding applications finally was passed.

Of course, the secretary was not really so busy in the past two to three months. She took large amounts of information, visited different kinds of the media to make internal briefing and invited them to go to the Wuhan-Guangzhou high-speed railway, unilaterally to recount their version of the story. Emphasizing how the important are the construction of the high speed railway and how comfortable would the railway be. I don’t know why all these media will support this funding application so enthusiastically even under such strong opposition by the public. Why don’t the media help those weak “after 80’s” demonstrators to express their opinions and postpone the passing of the high-speed railway funding application to strike a balance between the Government and the public? Actually the media acted just like a tool of the Government to promote their views. The society can’t wonder that why those so called “after 80’s” didn’t trust and listen to the media. And the media were not responsible to their job as reporting the truth and were just like a governmental spinning machine.

From this event, we can see how dissatisfaction that the public view about parts of Hong Kong media. However, I still believed that it’s just a part of Hong Kong media, and most of them have their own ethic and will report the truth. I hope that under the cooperation of the Government, media and the new generation of Hong Kong, there will not be anymore conflict of social issues and media can balance different people’s points of view.