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Changes between diet quality and health-related quality of life (HR-QoL) over 12 years were examined in men and women, in 2844 adults (46 % males; mean age 47·3 (sd 9·7) years) from the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle study with data at baseline, 5 and 12 years. Dietary intake was assessed with a seventy-four-item FFQ. Diet quality was estimated with the Dietary Guideline Index, Mediterranean-Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension Diet Intervention for Neurological Delay Index (MIND) and Dietary Inflammatory Index. HR-QoL in terms of global, physical component summary (PCS) and mental component summary (MCS) was assessed with the Short-Form Health Survey-36. Fixed effects regression models adjusted for confounders were performed. Mean MCS increased from baseline (49·0, sd 9·3) to year 12 (50·7, sd 9·1), whereas mean PCS decreased from baseline (51·7, sd 7·4) to year 12 (49·5, sd 8·6). For the total sample, an improvement in MIND was associated with an improvement in global QoL (β = 0·28, 95 % CI (0·007, 0·55)). In men, an improvement in MIND was associated with an improvement in global QoL (β = 0·28, 95 % CI (0·0004, 0·55)). In women, improvement in MIND was associated with improvements in global QoL (β = 0·62 95 % CI (0·38, 0·85)), MCS (β = 0·75, 95 % CI (0·29, 1·22)) and PCS (β = 0·75, 95 % CI (0·29, 1·22)). Positive changes in diet quality were associated with broad improvements in HR-QoL, and most benefits were observed in women when compared to men. These findings support the need for strategies to assist the population in consuming healthy dietary patterns to lead to improvements in HR-QoL.
Back in 2013 when I was preparing a proposal seeking research funding to support this archival study, I had an interesting conversation with a colleague who had migrated from England to practise and teach law in Hong Kong forty years ago. After reading my proposal, he ‘advised’ me (as a newly joined faculty member) not to conduct research that sought to condemn the English rule of law. To condemn it, he said, was easy, but in doing so I would leave out the fact that maintaining peace and order sometimes warrants a departure from the rule of law.
Chapter 2 uncovers how the political censorship regime in Hong Kong evolved from punitive censorship to what I call ‘pre-emptive censorship’, a measure that imposed the mandatory daily vetting of newspaper proofs by government censors. During the China-backed large-scale strikes that occurred in 1922–1926, the colonial government faced the most serious challenge to its legitimacy to date. In response to the resulting anxiety over its continued rule in Hong Kong, the colonial government further stretched its control of the press by enacting newspaper regulations. Press control was expanded from punishing editors for what they had already published to day-to-day political vetting of the content of Chinese newspaper proofs before they were printed for sale to the public. The operations of the censors’ office produced newspapers with weird dots and crosses concealing censored material. News manuscripts banned from publication featured a big chop from the government’s Press Censorship Office, as shown on the cover of this book. The daily operation of this mysterious office, hitherto unknown to scholarship, will be described in detail in this chapter.
Chapter 1 examines the imperial silencing regime in Hong Kong from the early colonial years to the turn of the nineteenth century, a regime I call ‘punitive censorship’. The chapter details how for the first fifty years of British rule in Hong Kong following its inception in 1841, criminal prosecutions under libel law were wielded by the colonial government as the major tool against newspaper editors who criticised government officials and/or policies. Libel prosecutions aimed not only to suppress criticism of the colonial government but also to manage Britain’s geopolitical interests in East Asia, particularly its relationship with China. In addition to suppressing the Hong Kong press through judicial proceedings, the colony’s censorship regime also featured legislative measures that, for example, forbade the import of anti-colonial materials into Hong Kong
Around noon on 3 June 1919, nine schoolboys aged eight to seventeen walked westwards along Queen’s Road in the Central District of Hong Kong clad in their school uniforms and holding open oil-paper umbrellas made in mainland China. The umbrellas featured Chinese characters reading ‘Chinese people should buy native goods’. The boys attracted the attention of passers-by, with more than 100 joining them to form an impromptu parade.
Chapter 5 reveals how Hong Kong’s freedom of expression was defined and confined by changes in the China strategies of Britain and other world powers. The diplomat Murray MacLehose assumed Hong Kong’s governorship in 1971 with an express mandate from London to build civic pride and raise living standards in Hong Kong to maximise the British bargaining position in negotiations over Hong Kong’s future with a post-Mao regime. In addition to the well-known expansion of social services and efforts to combat crime and corruption, MacLehose’s governorship also featured a hitherto understudied loosening of media control. Yet behind the overt building of a free city were the covert surveillance of political activists and unchanged draconian laws of political censorship that were used to crack down on anti-government dissent whenever it overstepped the government’s political red lines.
Chapter 3 shows how the loss of China to communism hugely increased the complexity of operating effective media censorship. The colonial government could no longer rely solely on pre-emptive daily vetting to contain undesirable content and comments. During the second half of the twentieth century, political censorship of the media and education sector was facilitated and supplemented by large-scale surveillance operations carried out through a collaborative network of local departments informed by global intelligence collected through London and British embassies around the world. Intelligence collected by this network allowed the colonial government to nip trouble in the bud, and resulted in a number of ‘troublemakers’ (including journalists, editors, publishers, teachers, students and principals) being arrested, detained and even deported without trial without any due regard to whether such actions were lawful. This chapter provides a comprehensive account of such surveillance and censorship operations targeting the media and education sector from the late 1940s to the late 1950s against the backdrop of rising Cold War tensions and the new Communist China’s relations with the world.
Chapter 4 details the encroachment of the government’s silencing machine on Hong Kong citizens’ daily lives at the height of the Cold War. The period from the 1950s to the 1960s saw CCP cultural infiltration into various sectors of Hong Kong in an attempt to propagate anti-colonial patriotic ideas and communist ideologies. The CCP not only published, directly or indirectly, newspapers, books and magazines in Hong Kong, but also sponsored schools and film studios and staged theatrical performances. Together with the co-existence of KMT supporters and intelligence agents of other world powers in the colony, Hong Kong became an important ideological battleground of the Cold War in Asia. The colonial government responded by hardening its monitoring of newspapers and schools, suppressing them when necessary. It also monopolised the preparation of news bulletins for radio broadcasting and imposed political censorship on radio entertainment programmes, films and theatrical performances. Radical movements of the KMT and CCP also led to the two most violent riots in colonial Hong Kong history, in 1956 and 1967, respectively, in which a large number of political dissidents were deported, detained without trial and imprisoned for speech offences.
Chapter 6 traces the trajectory of a renewed consciousness of the rule of law and various freedoms in the final decade of colonial rule and unpacks the geopolitical concerns and motivations of the British government in de-silencing Hong Kong before the handover in 1997. The conclusion in 1984 of negotiations between Britain and China on the reversion of Hong Kong’s sovereignty to the latter marked the opening of an era of liberalistic rule of law and individual freedoms in Hong Kong. Laws and regulations that had been used to suppress free speech, control publication and prosecute political protesters were loosened or repealed one after another in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Hong Kong’s first statute expressly recognising freedom of speech, assembly and association was passed only in 1991, just six years before the colonial era came to an end. Not only were laws and senior judicial appointments liberalised in the last decade of British rule, but the 1980s and 1990s also witnessed unprecedented levels of public discussion of, and official and media narratives on, the importance of free speech and the rule of law to Hong Kong.
Drawing on archival materials, Michael Ng challenges the widely accepted narrative that freedom of expression in Hong Kong is a legacy of British rule of law. Demonstrating that the media and schools were pervasively censored for much of the colonial period and only liberated at a very late stage of British rule, this book complicates our understanding of how Hong Kong came to be a city that championed free speech by the late 1990s. With extensive use of primary sources, the free press, freedom of speech and judicial independence are all revealed to be products of Britain's China strategy. Ng shows that, from the nineteenth to the twentieth century, Hong Kong's legal history was deeply affected by China's relations with world powers. Demonstrating that Hong Kong's freedoms drifted along waves of change in global politics, this book offers a new perspective on the British legal regime in Hong Kong.