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1 - Punitive Censorship and Libel Lawsuits against the Press

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 July 2022

Michael Ng
Affiliation:
The University of Hong Kong
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Summary

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

Type
Chapter
Information
Political Censorship in British Hong Kong
Freedom of Expression and the Law (1842–1997)
, pp. 13 - 26
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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