Delete ‘interfering with’, insert ‘advising’…

Sometimes mocked (like much of the Hong Kong media) for pro-Beijing bias and tycoon-ownership, the South China Morning Post receives a credibility-boosting badge of honour from blunt-spoken government supporter Arthur Li – who labels the paper ‘fake news’.

The question is whether the SCMP accurately quoted departing Hong Kong University head Peter Mathieson. When I read the original article, I remember getting the impression that Mathieson implied that Beijing’s Liaison Office frequently meddled. This was probably because the opening paragraph said:

The outgoing head of the University of Hong Kong has described his tenure as filled with “pressure from everybody”, saying that apart from local officials, he was also given advice “all the time” by Beijing’s liaison office.

Li essentially claims that the SCMP ‘conflated’ Mathieson comments. We would expect a groveling apology, but maybe the boss is away or something and the SCMP admirably stands its ground in response – even though the transcript suggests Li has at least a partial point. A pro-journalistic argument might be that Li is confusing the concise crafting of an enticing lead para with ‘conflation’.

Even if Li is right, however, no-one disputes that the Liaison Office has been ‘advising’ HKU leadership. That is the substance of the story.

Officially (traditionally/in-your-dreams), the Liaison Office’s role is to be an intermediary between the national and local governments, and to help smooth Mainland-Hong Kong relations in discreet, positive and benign ways. Officially (etc), Hong Kong universities are completely off-limits to Communist Party influence. Officially, then, local academic institutions should perhaps be ‘advising’ the Liaison Office – but not the other way round. Obviously, this is not the case. This is not ‘fake’ news. It’s not news at all.

Elsewhere inSCMP Goes Rogue’…

Liaison Office will call soon with some advice.

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14 Responses to Delete ‘interfering with’, insert ‘advising’…

  1. We don’t need no education says:

    Re: the latest SCMP article, in response to Arthur Li’s production of Peter Mathieson’s phone text, the latter pointed out the message “was never intended to be made public” – a tidy (and well deserved) parting kick to whining Arthur’s nuts.

  2. Enid Pyle says:

    Keep the pot stirring.

    But remember..

    Hong Kong people admire all these people.

    Deep down they think they’re wonderful! And the reason is that…they’re rich!

    It would be wonderful if all Asia wanted to be White, liberal and democratic. But mainly they want to be Asian. Sit down and think about that a while.

    Keep tappin’

    Pip, pip.

  3. Big Al says:

    Regarding the delicious controversy about Teresa Cheng, some have asked whether she is qualified to be justice minister. On Wednesday she admitted a “lack of alertness and political sensitivity”. Over-qualified, I’d say.

  4. Chris Maden says:

    The HKFP column you provide a link to is seriously worth reading. Very disturbing. Thank you for bringing my attention to it.

  5. Stephen says:

    Teresa wasn’t Carrie’s pick and therefore she is in no position to do anything but “support” her – regardless that Teresa is looking more and more ridiculous and her credibility torn to shreds. Does the Liaison Office care anymore how this looks ? More worrying is, what do the Liaison Office have planned for which Teresa will be their mouthpiece?

  6. LRE says:

    @Big Al
    Ouch. Harsh, but fair.

    But if we’re really after someone who is involved in the justice system, lacks alertness and political sensitivity and likes to argue that they didn’t know they were breaking the law when they committed their crime, why not employ one of the top civil servants currently doing bird in Stanley Prison?

    Just as (if not more) over-qualified as Teresa, and the taxpayers could save a bundle on the old salary and pension.

  7. Hank Morgan says:

    Couldn’t Teresa Cheng just recuse herself from any zoning related matters?

    Works in this democracy!

  8. Joe Blow says:

    3 millions in cash and valuables were stolen from her. Mother Theresa could have built 6 hospitals with that kind of $$$.

  9. dimuendo says:

    Joe Blow

    Maybe times are hard? Might be why she took the job.

  10. pie-chucker says:

    @ Mr Blow

    *6 hospitals* ! Six sheds on which people can lie in camp beds and suffer (getting closer to Our Lord) then die.

  11. Des Espoir says:

    Just echoing Jake van der Kamp’s comment that Teresa has to go… if Carrie backs Teresa wholeheartedly, then she lacks the judgement etc for high office, and SHE should go…

  12. Joe Blow says:

    Yes, Mr. Pie Chucker, 6 hospitals were people would receive loving care and medication in their last days (Mother Theresa’s nuns were well funded) instead of lying in the gutters of Calcutta were they would literally rot away, before and after death.

    And I am quite sure that unlike Teresa and ‘Catholic saint’ Carrie Lam, Mother Theresa didn’t own a pearl necklace that she could clutch in moments of distress.

  13. Knownot says:

    A sorry song I sing today,
    A sad and mournful tune,
    Of fair Teresa Cheng
    And handsome Otto Poon.

    Under towering Castle Peak,
    Nestled side by side
    Lived the gallant squire
    And his secret bride,

    A happy tale of high romance.
    Yet discreetly hidden,
    Alas, below the ground,
    Was something else, forbidden.

    Reporters come, with phones and drones,
    And show, to our amazement,
    The loving pair conceal
    A large illegal basement.

    Do not mock the Senior Counsel.
    She may well assert:
    “I was much too busy,
    I was not alert.”

    After all, there are illegal
    Structures everywhere.
    Poor Teresa Cheng.
    People are unfair.

  14. Chinese Netizen says:

    I’m sure Carrie would revel in other kinds of “pearl necklaces”…if only she could get hubby interested in her…

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