Telecommunications Policy

Harmful Elements in the Air


Happy news from Hong Kong:

The Hong Kong government's attempt to shut down pirate radio broadcaster Citizen's Radio was scuttled in a recent decision of the Hong Kong High Court. In the decision, the Court stated that it did not see how the station's broadcasting could jeopardize public safety.

In a complicated ongoing legal battle, the Hong Kong government had sought to extend an injunction preventing the station from going to air. Citizen's Radio argued that denial of their application for a license violated their freedom of expression.

The unlicensed broadcasts were started in 2005 by a group of pro-democracy activists after their application for a license was denied by the Broadcasting Authority. The station airs phone-ins and discussions about current events and politics, including discussions about Hong Kong's transition to full democracy.

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  1. The Hong Kong government’s attempt . . .

    I’ve lost track of the details, but I didn’t think there really was such a thing as a “Hong Kong government.” Its not like Hong Kong is a sovereign nation. Aren’t we really talking about the mainland Chinese government here?

  2. R.C. Dean,

    No, we aren’t. The local government is the sovereign body when it comes to internal affairs.

  3. We’re an anarcho-syndicalist commune. We take it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week.

    But all the decision of that officer have to be ratified at a special biweekly meeting – by a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs, but by a two-thirds majority in the case of more…

  4. ? ?, ?? ! (?)

  5. Er, no “they” aren’t.

  6. The local government is the sovereign body when it comes to internal affairs.

    However, the local government is appointed by and serves entirely at the whim of Beijing, so in practice, yes, the mainland calls the shots.

    PS. I wouldn’t hold my breath for a “transition to full democracy”. It’s been moving steadily in the opposite direction since the return to the Motherland. The “good” news is that China’s government stands a good chance of collapsing before Hong Kong’s “special status” expires. There’ll be chaos for awhile, after which one might see some sort of democracy there.

  7. Rhywun,

    Half of the legislative council’s seats come via direct election. How exactly are these people appointed by Beijing?

  8. True, it’s a little more complicated than I made it out. There is a legislature but it doesn’t have much power compared to the Chief Executive, who is appointed by an elite committee with a tiny input from the legislature. Plus, China continually changes the “rules” at its whim, dragging its feet and subverting the intent of the Basic Law at every turn.

  9. Calidore, depends on who is allowed to vote.

  10. So, I was right in saying that Hong Kong isn’t a sovereign?

    Does this happen if Peking doesn’t want it to happen?

  11. Rhywun,

    If I recall correctly the legislative council and the Chief Executive make the law together.


    Half of the legislative council is elected via the general populace as far as I know.

  12. Jesse:

    Harmful Elements in the Air

    Brilliant lyrics tie-in reference to “Hong Kong elements in the air…” from the song, Hong Kong Garden by Siouxsie and the Banshees! Kudos, Jesse!
    Live version-Very nice too.
    Another live version-Also very nice.

    (“Hong Kong Garden” is my fave tune from them.)

  13. It’s great to see the Hong Kong High Court exercise this autonomy even post unification with the commie thugs.

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