Political Censorship in British Hong Kong

Michael Ng

The British line that “freedom of speech in HK is a legacy of the British ” is a myth.

It never existed based on archival research presented in this 2022 book by a HK professor.

His research was aided by documents kept by the late Ng Bar Ling who was a journalist and later senior editor of a major Chinese language newspaper, Wah Kiu Yat Po.

Ng preserved original documents from the 1920s to 1970s which provide ample evidence of the political censorship regime in colonial Hong Kong as well as criminal prosecutions for those who demonstrated in public or breached the censorship regulations.

This book shows that the British recognised press freedom only in 1991 when a law was passed to recognise the freedom of speech, assembly, and association.

What is clear is that the British took this step just 6 years before HK was handed over to China. [p 12]. So much for the touted freedom of speech under colonial HK.

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