Journalist Cao Jingxing (曹景行), whose work impacted media development in both Hong Kong and China, passed away on February 11 at the age of 75.
Born in Shanghai in 1947, Cao was among the first group of students to return to university studies in 1978, the year after the college entrance examinations, or gaokao, were reinstated, having been suspended in 1965 ahead of the Cultural Revolution.
In 1982, Cao joined Yazhou Zhoukan (亚洲周刊), the Chinese-language edition of Asiaweek magazine, which had been founded in 1975 by former colleagues at Hong Kong’s Far Eastern Economic Review. Cao was promoted to editor-in-chief of the magazine, often called “the first Chinese language international affairs newsweekly,” in 1994, the same year the magazine was purchased by Hong Kong’s Ming Pao, where Cao was also an editorial writer.
From 1997, at the time of Hong Kong’s handover to China, Cao was editor-in-chief of the news channel at the Chinese Television Network (香港传讯电视). The next year, he left CTN to become deputy director of the Phoenix InfoNews Channel, a paid television news channel in Hong Kong owned by Phoenix Television.
University of Hong Kong professor Xu Zidong (许子东), a long-time friend of Cao’s, told Shanghai’s The Paper: “He was a very good newsman, exceptionally poised, and he made people feel that they could trust him.”
Xu also said, according to The Paper, that the popular news talk program, Behind the Headlines With Wen Tao (锵锵三人行), a pioneering format at Phoenix launched in April 1998 that spawned many imitators, was first proposed by Cao Jingxing. “He phoned me before the show even aired and said it was going to bring together a few readers for a chat, something that hadn’t been done before,” Xu recalled. “I always remembered after that that he said something like, ‘The point of the show is not the content of the talk, but the method of the talk.'”
Among Cao’s best known works are a pair of memoirs, Drifting Over the Sea of Life (浮過了生命海) and Me and My World (我與我的世界).
Cao Jingxing’s father was renowned Republican Era journalist and author Cao Juren (曹聚仁), who was reportedly close to such May Fourth writers as Lu Xun (魯迅) and Zhou Zuoren (周作人), and was active as a writer in Shanghai before arriving in Hong Kong in 1950.