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The people of Hong Kong have been able to enjoy things like press freedom and the freedom of speech, unlike their counterparts in mainland China. After it was returned to Chinese rule, the former British colony preserved some western style rights and freedoms. But a recent survey has found that local media has become less free, especially when it comes to issues relating to the Chinese regime.
Hong Kong media is increasingly engaged in self-censorship, according to a survey released last week. The Hong Kong University Public Opinion Program carried out its annual survey in April. Of about one thousand respondents, more than half believed local media practiced self-censorship. This is the highest level since Hong Kong was handed back to the Chinese Communist Party in 1997.
The survey found that two thirds of the population believed local media was hesitant in criticizing the Communist regime. According to Hong Kong Journalists Association Chairwoman Mak Yin-ting, this is because more media companies are strengthening their ties with the regime.
[Mak Yin-ting, Hong Kong Journalists Association Chairwoman]:
"Now more than half of Hong Kong media bosses or high level management have been absorbed by the Communist government. Some have become representatives of the National People's Congress. This will affect how news is handled down the hierarchy. They may consider whether reporting on some issues would affect the relationship between their bosses and the Central Government."
Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor Director Law Yuk-kai says one example of self-censorship is on news related to Falun Gong, a spiritual practice persecuted by the Chinese regime.