Fabricating a HK Tiananmen incident?


I don’t count myself amongst the pro-government camp when it comes to politics in Hong Kong. I generally side with the pro-democracy camp. But regardless of political affiliation, one cannot but help be concerned by the anti-Chinese bias of many western media companies, particularly those in the US.

Take for example NYTimes’s coverage of the protests against national education and their not so subtle attempt to link these protests with the Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing in 1989:

The protests in Hong Kong, a former British colony returned to China in 1997, have been somewhat similar to the much larger Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing in 1989: large numbers of students have flocked to public spaces in front of government buildings, staging sit-ins and, in some cases, hunger strikes.

All true, thankfully modified by the phrase “somewhat similar”. Now here comes the more subversive bit:

Also like the Tiananmen Square protesters, the Hong Kong students have been protesting corruption, particularly a widespread perception here that government officials have become too close to the city’s tycoons by accepting yacht trips while in office and discounted apartments and highly paid jobs after retirement.

Not really, not even partially true. The student protests, and oddly enough the protests against national education have been very successfully in staying on message and railing against the governments’ education proposal. For the sake of completeness, here’s the rest of the paragraph.

The Hong Kong protesters have even put up a “goddess of democracy” statue that resembles the Statue of Liberty, similar to the statue used by students during the Tiananmen Square demonstrations.

Perhaps it would be useful to see how other news providers have covered this, admittedly curious, similarity.

Al Jazeera says

Some protesters staged hunger strikes, and students had erected a replica of the democracy statue that symbolised the student-led 1989 Tiananmen protests in mainland China.

And the BBC doesn’t even mention it.

Oddly enough, none of the above sources (whom I personally consider amongst the most respectable) mentioned that a number of individuals who had taken part in the former student movement were amongst those who were on a hunger strike.