Friday, February 28, 2014

They Can't Kill Us All: An Attack on an Editor in Hong Kong

In an earlier post about people voicing their desire for democracy at a Hong Kong Lunar New Year fair I wrote "But many Hongkongers are not content with the additional freedoms they enjoy, some of which are deteriorating or are threatened." The last part of the sentence linked to an article about journalists marching "through Hong Kong to oppose to what they say is the 'rapid deterioration' of freedom of speech."

Around the same time I was writing the post, there was darker news:
The former chief editor of a Hong Kong newspaper whose dismissal in January stirred protests about press freedom in the Chinese territory was slashed Wednesday morning, the police said.

Kevin Lau Chun-to, the former chief editor of Ming Pao, was slashed three times by an attacker who fled with an accomplice on a motorbike, said Simon Kwan King-pan, the chief inspector of the Hong Kong police. The attack happened shortly after 10 a.m. as Mr. Lau was walking from his car in the Sai Wan Ho neighborhood. Mr. Lau was listed in critical condition at a local hospital with a wound in his back and two in his legs, and doctors said he faced a long recovery.
Although the attackers remain unidentified, many in Hong Kong believe the target of the attack was not a coincidence. Hong Kong's South China Morning Post reported:
Two police sources said the nature of the attack on Lau left little doubt that it was designed as a warning.

One said: "If they had wanted to kill him, they would have." The other added: "It was a classic triad hit. They went for the back and legs to warn him."
Despite concerns the attackers will not be brought to justice, "Hong Kong journalists have vowed not to be intimidated". Journalism educator Yuen Chan documented some of the response from students at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Chinese University of Hong Kong students holding sign reading "They cant kill us all"

The attack has received attention in Hong Kong, abroad, and to a degree in parts of mainland China, but it's a different story in Hong Kong's neighbor, Guangdong province:
News of the violent attack on former Ming Pao chief editor Kevin Lau Chun-to was conspicuously absent from Guangdong media yesterday because of a gagging order from the party censor, according to several editors.
Lau's condition has stabilized, and hopefully he makes a full recovery. But whether or not police identify the attackers and determine their motive, the vicious assault on Kevin Lau Chun-to has brought yet more uncertainty to Hong Kong.

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