HKJA understands that journalists at HK01 have compiled reports about June 4-related documents from UK archives. They were scheduled for publication on at least two consecutive days. Reports for the second day were not published as planned. HKJA is extremely concerned that the suspension of publication of the reports is tantamount to self censorship in view of political sensitivity. Those reports were based on the confidential archives of the UK government, which were recently available for public viewing.
HK01 published two reports on the archives in the morning of December 20, entitled: “The UK government got intelligence from State Council. PLA 27th Army fired at soldiers. Over 10,000 civilians dead”. The reports quoted content from documents in the UK archives that contained reports about the casualties of the June 4 crackdown.
The reports were pulled out from their website shortly after they were published. The HKJA understands the reports were published again in the afternoon after their news staff made strong demand and that some changes were made to the original reports. Among the changes include changing the original wording of “State Councillor” to “a staff member” of the State Council.
HkJA understands the second batch of reports were planned for publication on December 21, but were not published.
The Editor-in-Chief of HK01 Lung King-cheong denied they had withdrawn the report on December 20. He said that the original report needed revisions, correction and editing based on editorial consideration. They were later uploaded again. As for the question of whether there is a second batch of reports, Lung said he was not aware of it, saying he had not seen it. The Executive Editor-in-Chief of HK01 Ernest Chi did not comment directly on whether HK01 had shelved the second batch of reports. He said HK01 had already published two reports about the archives on December 20, adding they had no plans to publish any further reports on the archives.
HKJA regards the treatment of the reports by HK01 – the withdrawal of published reports and republication after revisions – causes suspicion. The shelving of the second batch of reports is unusual. It raises concerns about whether there are political considerations behind the treatment.
The original and a comparison of it with the revised version of the HK01 reports are available on the link below.
Hong Kong Journalists Association
22 December 2017
(Link provided by Mr Fung Ka Keung)