By: Agence France-Presse
Hong Kong’s public radio station has changed its 24-hour BBC World Service broadcast with Chinese state-run programming, in a transfer the British broadcaster known as “disappointing” as issues develop over Beijing’s affect on the semi-autonomous metropolis.
Listeners awakened on Monday morning to the Mandarin-language broadcast of the China National Radio Hong Kong Edition (CNR), as a substitute of the World Service, which had been relayed dwell by Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) since 1978.
The BBC stated it was “always disappointed when a service our listeners are used to changes” with listeners launching a petition to convey again the World Service.
RTHK has a lot of totally different channels providing some programmes in English. The World Service was broadcast on Channel 6, which is now enjoying CNR.
The CNR broadcast consists of information, tradition and life-style programming largely in Mandarin — the language mostly spoken in mainland China.
Only a few of its content material is in Cantonese, which is the dominant language of Hong Kong, resulting in criticism that this was one other step in the direction of the “mainlandisation” of Hong Kong.
RTHK continues to be operating a lowered model of the World Service on a special channel, however solely late at night time, from 11pm to 7am.
China stands accused of tightening its grip on Hong Kong, with critics additionally blaming the pro-Beijing native authorities for appearing as a puppet.
The jailing of distinguished younger pro-democracy activists final month and the disclosing of a controversial rail hyperlink to the mainland that will see a portion of the town come below Chinese legislation have worsened fears the town’s cherished freedoms are being eroded.
An on-line petition towards the change to the World Service programming had obtained over 1,000 signatures by Tuesday morning.
“The removal of the BBC World Service from the airwaves makes the city feel more parochial and inward-looking,” the petition stated.
Longtime resident Alex Hofford, who organised the petition, stated he had nothing towards the CNR broadcast however doesn’t consider it ought to have come on the expense of the BBC.
“This is a sad day for Hong Kong, I’ll really miss the Beeb as I drive around Hong Kong during the day,” Hofford stated.
RTHK’s head of company communications Amen Ng advised AFP Tuesday that it was a “difficult decision” on account of “limited radio frequency”.
She described the CNR broadcast as “tailor-made” for Hong Kong.
“This is a cultural exchange between mainland China and Hong Kong,” Ng added.
Hong Kong was handed again to China by colonial ruler Britain in 1997 below a “one country, two systems” settlement designed to guard its freedoms and lifestyle, however there are rising issues these rights are actually below risk.