Journalist Xinqi Su Answers YOUR Questions!

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Hi Burnet News Club. I am Xinqi Su, a Hong Kong-based reporter who recently left the South China Morning Post and will soon join AFP’s bureau in the city. AFP stands for Agence France-Presse and is an international news agency.


What do the people of China think about the protests in Hong Kong?

persuasive_cranberry, Brompton Westbrook Primary School

This is actually a very good question that may need a series of news stories to answer. Scientifically there is in general no way to draw a big picture because there is no reliable polling about this topic in mainland China. If you surf on some most popular social media platforms in China, such as Weibo and Wechat, you may have an impression that most of the mainland Chinese people are criticising, even resenting, the protests and protesters in Hong Kong. They often associate the protests as a movement to pursue the city’s independence and the protesters as vicious separatists - meaning people who wanted Hong Kong to be separate from China - although none of the protesters’ five demands asks for Hong Kong’s separation from China.

This impression is largely in line with how the Chinese state media reports the protests - selectively, and even inaccurately. However, it does not mean that all people in mainland China do not understand or sympathise what’s been going on in Hong Kong. These sympathetic voices are of course few in comparison with the rest, and they are rarely heard, because these voices can bring troubles under a strict censorship system. Censorship means when a government stops something being said.


Do they agree that the people of Hong Kong should have a different system to the people of China?

persuasive_cranberry, Brompton Westbrook Primary School

Dear perusasive_cranberry, it’s difficult to tell how many agree and how many disagree, and to what extent they agree or disagree for reasons similar to those stated in my answer to the first question.

There is a third and fourth possibility that I can think of.

The third one is that some mainlanders do not care what system Hong Kong runs, and the fourth one is that they want Hong Kong to have a different system for some benefits they can enjoy - such as quality things to buy and professional services - but such tolerance is limited. That limit is often affected, if not defined, by the nationalistic values by a person - nationalistic values are feelings of pride in your country and maybe even believing it is better than others. The more into nationalism a person is, the less tolerance the person may have for Hong Kong to maintain a different system.

The different understandings of “One Country Two Sytems” can be a good example. Hong Kong people believe that the crucial part of this policy is to preserve a different system and guarantee Hong Kong’s freedom, rule of law and “high degree of autonomy” promised by the government in Beijing, the capital of China. Meanwhile, Beijing and many mainlanders believe that “one country” is the most vital. Conflicts arise when Beijing and mainlanders perceive Hongkongers’ pursuit of freedom and democracy as a threat to China’s sovereignty - meaning China’s power. Hongkongers perceive Beijing’s increasing control over the city a threat to their basic rights.


“One Country Two Systems” - Hong Kong people believe that the crucial part of this policy is to preserve a different system and guarantee Hong Kong’s freedom, rule of law and “high degree of autonomy” promised by the government in Beijing, the capital of China. Meanwhile, Beijing and many mainlanders believe that “one country” is the most vital.

Xinqi Su


Do you think the general reporting on what's happening in Hong Kong is being done honestly and openly so that people know what is actually happening?

Determined_orange, Birchwood Primary School

Dear Determined_orange, In general, yes, I do. Press freedom remains strong in Hong Kong despite challenges from the market, technology and administration. Traditional media outlets and new Internet-based platforms are racing to leave no stone unturned in the past 17 weeks of protests, and local journalists are literally burning their lives for marathon coverage. Other than that, international media is getting their local staff ready and parachuting reporters into the city for first-hand information and coverage.

Web-based live broadcast by reporters carrying a mobile phones and a microphone is a remarkable form of coverage in this movement. Joining hands with traditional photography and videography, live footage from multiple angles allow people to see what happened when chaos broke out and to revisit some critical moments when someone is arrested or wounded. Such information is powerful counter-story to the statements and official lines provided by the government and the police. However, no matter how honest and open the coverage may be, readers must try to get news from lots of difference sources and to equip themselves with basic knowledge to tell real information from rumours. This way, their knowledge of the current affairs - being about the Hong Kong protests or not - will be as close to truth as possible.

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