Another major protest happened in Hong Kong recently – about television. It’s not as absurd as it sounds- public free-to-air TV licenses are rare (there’re only two free TV stations) and an entrepreneur put a lot of effort into creating a TV station HKTV and good programming in order to apply for one. He was turned down, while two pay-TV operators were granted free-to-air licenses. Why this is so important is that HK’s television industry has been on the decline for a while, with a dearth of decent television shows, and this decline is linked to HK’s cultural and social identity. The article does well to describe the situation and Ricky Wong, HKTV’s founder, illustrating exactly why many HKers feel so strongly about this. But then the article descends into yet another case of “blame China for everything” that is so prevalent in HK and the media. The writer mentions the unpopularity of HK’s chief executive and then describes Beijing’s past attempt to implement patriotic courses in schools. What this has to do with the television license fiasco is unclear. Even Wong, the guy who was most directly affected by this, said he was certain Beijing had nothing to do with him being turned down. The writer at least does mention that the two pay-TV operators are owned by billionaires, with one of them PCCW being owned by Li Ka-shing’s (Asia’s richest person) son. Even in what should be a clearcut case of the people versus wealthy entrenched billionaire establishment, the writer, and some HKers, have tried to bring mainland China into this, feeding upon the strong anti-China sentiment that some HKers have.
If you’ve managed to get through the rant above, here’s a reward in two random travel links.
Down in the southwest of China, there are great mountains and wilderness in Yunnan province and Tibet. This guy did a 15-day trek to the 22,107 foot high Kara Kapo, one of Tibetan Buddhism’s holiest mountains, with just two guides.
Here’s a decent article about Kazakhstan, that giant Central Asian country that’s wedged between two even larger countries and used to be known as the homeland of “Borat.” I don’t know much about Kazakhstan, especially that Fyodor Dostoevsky and Alexander Solzhenitsyn both wrote books there while serving time, the latter in one of those infamous gulags.
I have a few minor quibbles though- the article’s deck is awkwardly written and I’m not sure whether Kazakhstan can be considered Siberian though Wikipedia said the “north-central parts” are sometimes considered as part of Siberia. Also, Tamerlane or Timur is the widely used form of the name of that conqueror of vast parts of West, Central and South Asia, not “Tamburlaine.”