Thursday, February 27, 2014

Exposure of information is dangerous!

Exposure of other hidden information is dangerous, even in cosmopolitan Hong Kong. Two days ago, the former editor of Ming Pao (major local newspaper) was attacked in broad daylight and is still in ICU today. Citizens enraged.

This is what CNN reported:

Wednesday's incident is not the first example of a physical attack on Hong Kong's media. Last June, knife-wielding arsonists threatened workers and burnt 20,000 copies of the Apple Daily, another Hong Kong newspaper critical of the government.

The Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong released a statement Wednesday. "The growing number of attacks against members of the press in Hong Kong needs to be taken seriously by the local administration," the document said.
"Hong Kong's reputation as a free and international city will suffer if such crimes go unsolved and unpunished."
French-based Reporters Without Borders ranked Hong Kong 61st worldwide in press freedom in 2014 -- a far cry from its 18th place ranking in 2002, when its surveys were first conducted.

This leads me to ponder again on the good advice of Lao Zi. Our sage urged people not to meddle with each other's affairs. He went so far as to say that don't let people know you're helping them. Disclosing the otherwise hidden information of those in power (and those who are very rich) is particularly dangerous. In a more open society, legal harassment is the first approach, failing that, illegal means might possibly be employed. In a less open society where the administration has the legal apparatus on their side, people might simply be jailed for disturbance of public order. Example from Reuter (27 Jan):

Four more Chinese activists went on trial on Monday, accused of disturbing public order after urging officials to reveal their assets, the latest in a string of closely watched prosecutions of anti-graft campaigners.

A few months ago, I was astonished to find the Chinese translation of Julian Assange: The Unauthorised Autobiography being published in China. Apparently the authority approved its publication because they believed Assange is anti-West. Wikileak may be controversial, in particular it puts itself above any scrutiny, but it certainly supports an open society.

The Chinese publisher puts the following disclaimer at the back of the book (my translation):

All relevant information in this book is supplied by the author himself, his expositions may not contain any element of fact. The viewpoint and position expressed herein are the author's only, and it does not represent this publisher's viewpoint and position.

The Chinese publisher has certainly learned the wisdom of Lao Zi.

Last by not least, wish the editor get well soon.

Julian Assange: The Unauthorised Autobiography  - Chinese translation

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