Political Freedom Depends on Economic Freedom–Hayek Was Right

(p. A12) The Commercial Press bookstore does not carry the banned political books. Instead, the collected speeches of China’s president, Xi Jinping, are prominently displayed, as are at least four biographies of Lee Kuan Yew, the late Singaporean leader who was widely admired by Chinese officials.
It is the same pattern in 13 other Hong Kong stores owned by the parent company of Commercial Press, Sino United Publishing, the biggest bookseller and publisher in the city. Despite the interest from mainland tourists, books that paint Chinese politicians in a bad light are either not available or tucked out of sight on shelves far from heavily trafficked areas.
. . .
According to Hong Kong corporate records and one of the company’s top executives, Sino United is owned, through a series of holding companies, by the Chinese government.
The company’s dominant position in the city’s publishing and bookselling industry is a major breach in the wall between the communist mainland and Hong Kong, a former British colony whose civil liberties — including freedom of the press — were guaranteed by treaty for half a century after it returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1997. It also illustrates how the central government in Beijing wields influence here not through force, but through its financial clout.
That influence has become even more apparent in the nearly three years since Mr. Xi became the top leader in China.

For the full story, see:
MICHAEL FORSYTHE and CRYSTAL TSE. “Hong Kong Bookstores Display Beijing’s Clout.” The New York Times (Tues., OCT. 20, 2015): A12.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date OCT. 19, 2015,)

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