The trend of sparse coverage of Hong Kong’s “Occupy Central” (占中) continues inside China today, with a single official news release from Xinhua News Agency accounting for 60 percent of total content (24 of 39 articles).
The focus in the Xinhua report is on disruption, and calls for life in Hong Kong to return to “normal.” Here is a taste of that news release:
Xinhua News Agency, Hong Kong, filed Oct. 12 [reporter Niu Qi (牛琪)] — The illegal gathering called “Occupy Central” has entered its 15th day, with large amounts of people still assembling in Admiralty, Mong Kok and other areas. Various quarters of Hong Kong society have urged the occupiers to leave the streets immediately, allowing the lives of city residents to return to normal.
On October 12, the government of the Hong Kong SAR urged members of “Occupy Central” to immediately clear away barricades from the intersection of Lung Wo Road and Tamar Road, allowing the resumption of normal traffic in and out of the government headquarters.
A spokesperson for the SAR government said that since October 3 more than 60 meetings and events originally planned for the government headquarters had been deferred, cancelled or relocated to other venues. Of the 80 events on the schedule for the next two weeks, at least 12 were being considered for cancellation, deferral or relocation.
And here is how the news release appears on page 13 of today’s Beijing Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Beijing city leadership. It’s the article right at the top, under the large bold headline.
The Chinese-language Global Times newspaper, published under the auspices of the official People’s Daily, continues to offer the only “original” content available on the Hong Kong protests — which is to say, content that is not from either of China’s official news services. There are three articles mentioning “Occupy Central” in the Global Times today, two dealing particularly with the movement.
The first article, an opinion piece on page 14 written by Xiang Guangren (向广仁), is an acerbic takedown of the protests snidely rejecting comparisons to China’s May Fourth Movement of 1919. Here is the beginning, along with the article’s lovely headline:
“Occupy Central’ Will Not Stamp Its Name in History, But Only Leave a Stink That Lasts 10,000 Years“
The “Occupy Central” movement that has gone on in Hong Kong for more than 10 days now has been the target of public discontent for the way it has tied up transportation and impacted the normal lives of city residents. But in the early days of the movement, some scholars quite surprisingly compared this illegal and chaotic movement incited by a small number of politicians to “May Fourth,” thereby deceiving students, who felt that they were taking part in a movement for justice and would likewise go down in history. In fact, this idea is a deliberate misrepresentation meant to confuse the public. And I warn them: “Occupy Central” will only leave a stink for 10,000 years; it will not make its mark on history.
On page 16, the Global Times continues with its firebrand approach to the Hong Kong protests, characterizing them as a destructive event aided and abetted by “black hands” and foreign “hostile forces”:
Hong Kong’s illegal “Occupy Central” movement entered its third week yesterday, but there were signs that is was dying. The spokesperson for Scholarism, the most lively of the “Occupy Central” organizations, announced her resignation on October 11 due to “feelings of extreme helplessness and exhaustion.” This means the departure of one of the most important internal figures in “Occupy Central.” Now the focus has turned to whether or not this will cause a domino effect. Hong Kong media have revealed that rifts within the “Occupy Central” alliance are intensifying, with organizers calling on “Scholarism” and the “Hong Kong Federation of Students” to relinquish their leadership . . .
“Occupy Central,” which has resulted in the most violent riots in Hong Kong since the handover, is already seen as a catastrophe for Hong Kong. Who is providing “black money” for it? Which people should be held criminally liable? Hong Kong’s Legislative Council has already launched an investigation into the black hands behind “Occupy Central.”
The “already launched” investigation to which the Global Times refers is in fact merely the passing of a motion by pro-Beijing lawmakers in Hong Kong to launch an investigation. As the South China Morning Post has reported, the motion is likely to be defeated later this month by pan-democrats.
But if you’re searching for such nuance in today’s coverage of the Hong Kong protests by mainland media, don’t waste your time.
In this photo, taken by David Bandurski during the first week of protests in Hong Kong, a student volunteer passes out free bread at a peaceful protest site.