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Ming Pao (traditional Chinese: 明報; simplified Chinese: 明报; pinyin: Míng Bào) is a Chinese-language newspaper published by Media Chinese International in Hong Kong. In the 1990s, Ming Pao established four overseas branches in North America; each provides independent reporting on local news and collects local advertisements. Currently, of the overseas editions, only the two Canadian editions remain: Ming Pao Toronto and Ming Pao Vancouver.
|Owner(s)||Media Chinese International|
|Publisher||Media Chinese International|
|Founded||20 May 1959|
|Language||Chinese (in Traditional Chinese characters)|
|Free online archives||news|
Launch, early daysEdit
Before British Hong Kong’s handover to the People's Republic of China by the United Kingdom in 1997, Ming Pao was considered hostile to the Chinese authority. When China reunited with Hong Kong, the controversial editors of Ming Pao turned favorable towards the Chinese government.
Merger with Malaysia Sinchew and Nanyang GroupsEdit
In October 1995, the publisher of Ming Pao, Ming Pao Enterprise was taken over by Tiong Hiew King (Chinese: 張曉卿). On 29 January 2007, Tiong released a proposal to merge the three media groups – Sin Chew Media Corporation Berhad (Malaysia), Nanyang Press Holdings Berhad (Malaysia) and Ming Pao Enterprise Corporation Limited (Hong Kong). The merged group, named Media Chinese International Limited was dual-listed on the main boards of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong and the Bursa Malaysia Securities Berhad in April 2008. All of the existing groups retain their existing publications and independent operations.
The website of Ming Pao was set up in 1995, one of the earliest newspaper websites in Hong Kong.
Since April 2008, Ming Pao is published by Ming Pao Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary of Media Chinese International Limited.
Ming Pao set up a Toronto office in Canada in May 1993 to publish the Ming Pao Eastern Edition (Chinese: 明報(加東版)), then set up a Vancouver office in October the same year for the Ming Pao Western Edition (Chinese: 明報(加西版)).
In April 1997, the group set up a New York office and started publishing the Ming Pao US East Coast Edition (Chinese: 明報(美東版)). The journal launched in the San Francisco Bay Area in April 2004 with a print run of 25,000, the sixth Chinese newspapers to be distributed in the region. In 2007, the office also published the New York Free Newspaper (Chinese: 紐約免費報).
Ming Pao New York and Ming Pao San Francisco ceased operations on 31 January and 14 February 2009, respectively. The closing of NY operations was a symbol of the weakening of ethnic newspapers of the region. The group merged the resources of Ming Pao New York and the New York Free Newspaper to create Ming Pao Daily Free News (New York) (Chinese: 明報(紐約)免費報), serving the Chinese community along the US East Coast.
Chinese Communist Party InfluenceEdit
“The dominant Chinese media vehicle in America is the newspaper," wrote the report's lead author Mei Duzhe. "Four major Chinese newspapers are found in the U.S.—World Journal, Sing Tao Daily, Ming Pao Daily News, and The China Press. Of these four, three are either directly or indirectly controlled by the government of Mainland China, while the fourth (run out of Taiwan) has recently begun bowing to pressure from the Beijing government.”
The report also noted that the CCP started purchasing important Hong Kong news media companies, including Ming Pao, through third parties, in preparation for the Hong Kong hand-over to the People's Republic of China in 1997. “Employees at Ming Pao's New York office have told sources that their 'true boss' is none other than the Chinese Consulate [in New York], and that they are obligated to do whatever the Consulate asks," it said.
According to a 2013 report by Center for International Media Assistance, "The Long Shadow of Chinese Censorship: How the Communist Party’s Media Restrictions Affect News Outlets Around the World,":
"Before and after the 1997 [Hong Kong] transition, a number of influential newspapers run as family businesses were bought by tycoons with business interests in China and close ties to mainland officials, such as Ming Pao Daily, Sing Tao Daily, and Sing Pao," said the report. “Soon, a number of observable patterns emerged at these and other outlets signaling growing pressure within the media industry to reduce criticism of the central government…”
Assault on former chief editor Kevin LauEdit
Kevin Lau, who had been chief editor of the journal until January 2014, was attacked in the morning of 26 February 2014 in Sai Wan Ho, Hong Kong. He was seriously injured in a targeted knife attack. It was widely speculated that the attack may have been driven by political motivation, and related to its role in investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) into the offshore assets of China's leaders, including relatives of Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping, former Premier Wen Jiabao, and several members of the National People's Congress Journalists and press of the world saw the attack as an attack on press freedom. Thousands of people, led by leading journalists, attended a rally to denounce violence and intimidation of the media.
During the court hearings of the two suspects, one declared that he was looking to get a $100,000 reward with this attack.
Appointment of Chong Tien SiongEdit
In 2014, the appointment of new chief editor Chong Tien Siong sparked controversy and internal revolt, due to Siong's close ties to Beijing, and was seen as a major threat to the Chinese-language newspaper's editorial independence.
Censorship on Tiananmen MassacreEdit
Ming Pao was subject to controversy in 2015 after editor-in-chief Chong Tien-siong ordered that a story detailing the Tiananmen massacre be replaced with a story about Chinese Internet giant Alibaba as a "role model for young, would-be entrepreneurs". Chum Shun-kin said the story that was pulled contained details about the history of the massacre, including eyewitness accounts of the killing of civilians and information from diplomatic cables from Canada. The pulling of the Tiananmen story has been criticised by some, including Civic Party lawmaker Claudia Mo who said that Chong appears to "want to shield Beijing from embarrassment, instead of acting in the interests of the public and protecting their right to information".
Termination of chief editor Keung Kwok-yuenEdit
The journal's executive chief editor, Keung Kwok-yuen (Chinese:姜國元), was abruptly terminated on 20 April 2016, the same day that a report based on the Panama Papers was published on its front page. Management said that the paper's turnover had been falling in since last year and the Keung had been laid off with immediate effect due to difficult operating conditions. The timing of Keung's removal led to speculation that the Panama Papers report, which connected a number of influential individuals in the territory to tax havens abroad, may have been considered sensitive, thus being the real reason for the dismissal.
Keung had written several weeks earlier about the suppression of Ten Years, a dystopian film about Hong Kong in the year 2025 that was banned in mainland China. Staff and the union publicly denounced editor-in-chief Chong Tien Siong's decision to "punish editorial staff who have different opinions", and questioned the cost reduction pretext as an excuse. Journalists at Ming Pao manifested the concern felt by the media at large, several of them protested by filed blank space reports in an edition the Sunday following the dismissal.
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- Kirk Semple (22 January 2009). "Plan to Close Chinese-Language Paper Deepens a Shadow Over the Ethnic Press". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
- Duzhe, Mei. China Brief Vol1, Issue 10. "How China's Government is Attempting to Control Chinese Media in America" "Jamestown Foundation." 2001
- Cook, Sarah (22 October 2013). "The Long Shadow of Chinese Censorship: How the Communist Party's Media Restrictions Affect News Outlets Around the World" (PDF). Center for International Media Assistancee. p. 25. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 February 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
- Mitra-Thakur, Sofia (28 February 2014). "Hong Kong: Former editor Kevin Lau Chun-to stabbed in triad-style hit ". The Independent.
- Mullany, Gerry (25 February 2014). "Hong Kong Editor Whose Ouster Stirred Protests Is Slashed". The New York Times
- Siu, Beatrice (3 March 2014). "Pressing the point" Archived 5 February 2015 at the Wayback Machine. The Standard.
- Julie Chu (23 July 2015). "Knifemen offered HK$100,000 each to attack former Ming Pao chief editor Kevin Lau, court hears". Scmp.com. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
- Lam, Jeffie & Lau, Stewart. 21 January 2014 “Controversial new boss Chong Tien Siong may join Ming Pao in 2 weeks” South China Morning Post
- "Removal of Tiananmen Crackdown Story Prompts Questions in Hong Kong". Radio Free Asia.
- LO, Jennifer (21 April 2016). "HK freedoms under spotlight as Ming Pao sacks editor".
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- "Columnists continue Ming Pao protest". The Standard. 25 April 2016.
- "Hong Kong daily Ming Pao runs blank columns in protest at sacking of top editor". South China Morning Post. 24 April 2016.