Thursday, 4 June 2020

The South China Morning Post: is it reliable? (Part II)

An update of the first survey I did in January
“Con” = overtly critical of the policies or actions of Hong Kong or Beijing
Pro” = Pro gov't, pro China. Would be allowed to publish in China.
Neutral” = Analyses China/Hong Kong situation, perhaps offering suggestion, not overtly critical

I have coloured the columns on the basis of the colours deployed here in Hong Kong:
the “Blues” are the pro-government, pro police. The “Yellows” are the 
“pro-democracy”, anti-government demonstrators. And “Green” are a mix of the two.

Part I is here, the first time I did my own survey of the opinions in the Post.
Seems to me that coverage of China and Hong Kong, in the opinion pages of the South China Morning Post, is steady.

ADDED (23/10/20): Not to say there’s no bias at all. The News pages (as opposed to Op-Ed), especially the front page, often carries positive stories about this or that China policy, or something Xi Jinping has said. Eg, the Greater Bay Area concept and Xi’s recent trip and exhortations in Shenzhen. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that” as Seinfeld says. After all, the GBA concept is indeed big and important and Hong Kong ought to get more involved, or be left behind. 
The inner news pages: World news is mostly from Agencies, all of which are left of centre. The Asia page has reports from Post journalists in-country and appear pretty neutral. China and Hong pages are pretty etry heterodox in my view. And they have a Focus page which is a long read, usually covering all sides to an issue. Today (23 October) for example, it’s all about VPNs in China, how they can help get around the Great Firewall, but also how they can lead to even more government control and censorship.
The Letters meantime continue to be critical, with one today attacking the China mandated National Security Law. 
So still keeping an eagle eye on developments, but for the moment, at least, our premier English language newspaper in Asia appears to be holding its own. Perhaps Beijing views it as a non threatening way for foreigners to play in their little sandbox. Doubtless Post owner Jack Ma has some great relationships. Though a relationship, a guanxi can go awry and I wouldn’t want any deal in China to be based on that alone. But Jack is one smart cookie!