[Editor: The Hong Kong government is consulting the public on stalking. Journalists and activists are worried that their right of reporting and demonstration will be threatened. Chong Yiu-kwong, a Hong Kong lawyer, wrote articles to express view on this issue.]
Chinese original text Apple daily (27.2.2012)
The government is consulting the public on stalking. There have been a number of abuses in Britain after stalking was legislated. In 2007, Npower, a British energy company accused demonstrators for harassing their staff and applied for a restraining order according to anti-stalking acts in order to get rid of demonstrators and stop journalists from reporting. An exemption was granted after 3 months of legal process. Articles in The Guardian pointed out that the British anti-stalking acts had been used to suppress demonstrations. In 2001, a group of demonstrators who protested at a US military intelligence agency were prosecuted under the anti-staling acts as American staff felt harassed by the slogan “George W Bush? Oh dear!” written on the signboard held up by demonstrators. In 2004, a woman sent an email to the administration staff of a medicine company twice, urging them to stop using animals for experiments. Despite her politeness she was arrested. Laws in Hong Kong are greatly influenced by cases in Britain, abuses as such would easily happen frequently if stalking is legislated.
After Commissioner of Police (CP) Mr Tsang took office, his tough measures against the demonstrators have raised social concerns about the anti-stalking legislation. Law Reform Commission (hereinafter referred to as "LRC") published "anti-stalking" consultation document on 19 December last year which is called "The press 23" by the society. According to the document, stalking "may be described as a series of acts directed at a specific person which, taken together over a period of time, causes him to feel harassed, alarmed or distressed”. These acts might not be objectionable but, when combined over a period of time, interfered with the privacy and family life of the victim, and causing him distress, alarm or ever serious impairment of his physical or psychological well being. These acts may cause annoying or panic but still lawful at the beginning act, evolve into a dangerous, violent or likely to cause others to death. If a person ought to have known a course of conduct which amounted to harassment of the other, he should be guilty of a criminal offense. A maximum penalty would be a fine of $ 100,000 and imprisonment for two years, and with civil liability. The victim would be able to claim damages for any distress, anxiety and financial loss resulting from the pursuit and apply for an injunction to prohibit the stalker from doing anything which causes him alarm or distress.
Hong Kong In-Media has published the e-version of its research work on Social Media and Mobilization at Amazon under the title: Social Media Uprising in the Chinese-speaking World.
This book is an elaborated study of the use of social media in grassroots struggles in China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and Malaysia by local researchers and activists. We would like to work out a self-finance model for research and publication of social movement and media activism experience in Asia, in particular among Chinese speaking communities. Please support us by buying a copy.
You may also download a sample preview copy here [pdf].
Below is an introduction written by Jack Qui, a scholar on New media and politics from the Chinese University of Hong Kong:
(Editor note: This article is a part of an investigative report originally published in Changcheng Monthly （長城月報）in Chinese. The report, written by ChangLei （張蕾）traces the history of government and party hired online commentators, the so-called 50 Cent Party.)
Since October 2004, Communication Office of Changsha Municipal Party Committee has been insistent in delivering a daily opinion digest, Changsha Yuqing Kuaibao (《長沙輿情快報》) to major officials of Municipal Party Committee and the Municipal Government. For this, the office have recruited members from units such as the Municipal Party Committee Office and Training School of Changsha Municipal Committee of CPC to form a team of net commentators. These astroturfing commentators are hired with a basic monthly salary of RMB 600, with commissions depending on number of posts they posted. Each of their posts would be logged on a “net commentators management system” and counts for 50 cents.
(Editor note: This article is originally published in a Taiwanese Newspaper, Wangbao, in Chinese. The author, Hu Yong, is an Associate Professor from the School of Journalism and Communication, Peking University, one of China’s first research scholars in the field of network and new media.)
Mainland reporter from "the Economic Observer", Chou Ziming, was under order of arrest by the public security system due to his reporting on the inside story of some listed companies. Subsequently, reporter, Ah Liang from Qianlong web was under police investigation after publishing criticism on a private corporate. Leaving aside their act of conduct during the process of investigating the companies, the first trouble they had to encounter before the process was that their identity as reporters was being questioned.
On 25th of July, a “Support Cantonese Crowd Action” has taken place in in Guangzhou Jiangnanxi subway. Although it was officially classified as “unlawful assembly” and "Ying Ye", the 18-year-old founder, was brought to “drink tea” (by the Mainland police) twice, it did not prevent the Guangzhou people from supporting Cantonese. There were more than 2000 participants joined that action.
(Editor: Citizens Radio has been sued by Hong Kong government as an “illegal-licensed ” radio station. The writer of this article has been a volunteer at the illegal citizen radio and helped broadcasting the June 4 candle night vigil for the past 5 years. This year, the writer found that Hong Kong not only has “One Country Two System”, but also has “One Frequency Three Channels”. The Citizens Radio was intervened by some “third-party forces” during vigil. Writer worried this might be instructed by the Chinese government as one of the channel is a mainland one. The article recorded what happened in that evening.)
“As before, I was a helper of Citizens Radio during June 4 Anniversary. Citizens Radio aims at the opening of airwaves and has insisted for 5 years. This year, many web-radios formed a web-radio union and broadcasted the event with us lively.
Translator's note: The following article is written by Beida Professor Hu Yong in Southern Metropolis Daily 2010-06-01.
Abstract: China's emerging media market analyst Sage Brennan said, "With the popularity of blog and online game, it is easy to overlook the fact that the BBS network is the real active centre of China’s internet culture. For various reasons, BBS network continues to grow with increasing dynamic. Many network companies, University campus, and even a large number individuals, have already established their BBS community. "
(Editor Note: The excerpt below is from an article published in inmediahk.net (in Chinese) about the struggle for free speech space in Macau. On the one hand, professional media worker are calling for reform of the mainstream media, such as the Teledifusao de Macau S.A (TDM) - a Public broadcast service funded 100% by the Macau government but with no public accountability. In fact, the mainstream media, TV as well as newspapers, in Macau have suffered from serious self-censorship because of government funding and "harmonious political environment. The call for reform is an attempt to increase public accountability in conventional media. However, the writer of this article is not confident about the reform, as the Macau government continues to impose stricter control over the old and new media. The most recent move is the government's plan to amend the "Publishing Law" and the "Audio-Visual Broadcasting Act". Many believe that the government's move is to impose censorship on the Internet, the most influential public sphere in Macau.)
Hong Kong In-Media: Submission to Legislative Council Subcommittee Panel on Information Technology and Broadcasting
Hong Kong In-Media strongly believes that Public Broadcasting should be independent to ensure the freedom of speech and expression in Hong Kong. The recommendations put forward by Government in the "Future operation of the Radio Television of Hong Kong (RTHK) and new RTHK Charter" has ignored the fundamental suggestion put forward by the "Committee on Review of Public Service Broadcasting" that a "truly independent public broadcaster should be developed" in Hong Kong. We therefore express our our disappointment and regret towards such misleading consultation.