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5 - Preparing to Negotiate with China: Overt Loosening and Covert Control

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 July 2022

Michael Ng
Affiliation:
The University of Hong Kong
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Summary

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.

Type
Chapter
Information
Political Censorship in British Hong Kong
Freedom of Expression and the Law (1842–1997)
, pp. 127 - 163
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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