Last Friday we posted an article on our WeChat channel to respond to errors in media reporting on the UK and Hong Kong.
We did this because we wanted you to have all sides of the discussion on Hong Kong.
We also wanted to make clear that we support Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity. As the Prime Minster has said: “Britain wants nothing more than for Hong Kong to succeed under “one country, two systems”
The article was blocked after two hours but in that short time was viewed 350k times – the highest for any article we have ever posted.
We also received 1,050 comments. Many of your comments supported the new national security law and disagreed with the UK’s criticism but some welcomed the opportunity to hear a different voice and our point of view.
The Chinese international broadcaster CGTN has also published a reply to our article titled ‘A comprehensive response to the British Embassy’. Unlike our article, this will not be censored and can be read and discussed by anyone.
It is not unusual for our posts to be censored but we are not unique. We receive similar censorship to netizens and Chinese media.
The editor of the Global Times Hu Xijin has previously called for greater space for public discussion. In a Weibo post he has said ‘China should open up more channels for criticism and suggestions and encourage constructive criticism’.
While Caixin previously published an article on the importance of free speech with Shanghai academic Jiang Hong which was censored. When they published a follow up article ‘Story about Adviser’s Free Speech Comments Removed from Caixin Website’ this was also censored.
In the UK the Chinese Ambassador, Liu Xiaoming, and his deputy, Chen Wen, regularly appear on the BBC and other broadcasters to discuss the problems Hong Kong has faced. Chinese diplomats and officials also freely discuss Hong Kong on Twitter or challenge the validity of claims on other issues such as COVID-19 and are not censored.
The media are free to interview whomever they like because it promotes a wide range of perspectives and access to information that is important in tackling tricky problems whether that is Hong Kong or COVID-19.
It also means that everyone has a voice and it is not just the most powerful that can be heard.
There are many areas where the UK works side by side with China whether that is trade or climate change. We are both global leaders in tackling global warming and our two countries continue to create wealth and jobs together, with a trade relationship valued at more than £80bn in 2019. The potential of our economic and scientific partnership is huge and you will have seen us post many articles that promote this.
However, we would also like to be able to share with you content on topics where we hold a different opinion to the Chinese Government without it being censored.
The UK has a wide ranging relationship with China where we can have constructive discussions even if we disagree.
We also think that is important that you have a chance to understand our point of view so you can reach your own conclusion. We hope that this post is not censored.
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