Saturday, 2 January 2016

"Tung makes ‘approved’ criticism only"

My letter published today in the South China Morning Post. 
Tung makes 'approved' criticism only
I agree with Tung Chee-hwa that Hong Kong youth should visit China more often to understand this vast country ("Hong Kong must get behind China's vision to join the developed world", December 15). Like Mr Tung, I've been lucky enough to have witnessed China's meteoric rise since 1976, when I first studied in Beijing. Since then, I have visited every province in China. Like Mr Tung, I have seen at first hand the benefits that China's opening has had on ordinary citizens, now part of a growing middle class.
But Mr Tung fails to note the downsides to this "Great Leap Forward". Yes, he mentions corruption and pollution but these are "approved" criticism.
What about the stifling of free speech, quixotic implementation of the rule of law, lax building codes that lead to disasters like the one in Shenzhen, and hegemonic moves in the South China Sea? None of these is mentioned. I do hope that the South China Morning Post (the English-language "paper of record" for Asia, according to the BBC) will continue to cover these important issues.
Peter Forsythe, Discovery Bay
(SCMP cut out only the last bit of the final sentence which was "[...important a issues] and not become the final repository of puff pieces like those of Mr Tung". 
Anyway, a bit of a test to see how the SCMP goes under the new ownership of Jack Ma, head of China-based Alibaba. If the SCMP stops publishing letters like this, that's the time to start worrying about free speech in Hong Kong).

Sent from my iPhone