Oct 30, 2013
(Hong Kong) An ongoing protest against the government’s decision to reject Hong Kong Television’s license found significant support from celebrities and politicians yesterday.
As night fell on the fifth day of protesting, over ten thousands of people, including a British pop singer and politicians, arrived at a plaza in front of the Hong Kong government center yesterday to give their strong support and inspire the protestors.
Thousands of people and ex-staff members of the TV station have staged their mass protest since Sunday to call for the government to explain why HKTV’s license application was rejected on Oct. 15. Over 300 of the station’s approximately 700 staff members were laid off shortly after the TV station failed in its bid for a license from the government.
Neither the government nor HKTV’s chairman, Ricky Wong Wai-kay, provided an explanation of why the license was not granted.
“At nighttime from 8 to 10, we usually have talk shows and variety shows, while in the daytime we are just sitting here to demand the answer,” said Kathy Cheung, one of the protest organizers, who was preparing the stage for night show, adding that the protest gathers steam every night because protesters drop by when they are finished working. Many Hong Kongers have donated food and supplies to the protesters, she said.
“I think, we are the happiest protestors in Hong Kong ever, because we are very united and share experiences here every night. At the same, we are still unhappy and demanding the government to tell us the reasons,” she said, adding that the group will not stop their protest until they receive official explanation from the Hong Kong government.
Tents and beds could be seen near the front door leading to government office to be ready for protesters to sleep there overnight. Foods, soft drinks and snacks were piled on a large white table for hungry protesters.
A 61 year-old housewife, Lofong Ping, who was happily serving her afternoon soup to protesters, said she spent her free time cooking for protesters so that they could keep on protesting and demand a true answer from the government.
“I cooked it by myself. I want to support HK TV’s staff,” she said while serving a steamy hot Chinese medicine soup to participants yesterday afternoon.
As Ms. Ping spoke, boxes of pizza and food were being delivered to the protest site.
“Hong Kong is a free economy place. More TV stations are better and people can enjoy more,” Ms. Ping said.
Hong Kong currently has two licensed television stations only, compared to hundreds of TV stations in mainland China.
“It seemed so unjust that they are not being issued a license as other TV stations had. I hope the government will reconsider this,” said British singer Kashy Keegan, who travelled thousands miles from the UK to perform a song called “I Have My Dream” to cheer protesters yesterday night.
He said he hoped his song would help motivate protestors to keep their hopes up after long awaiting answer from the government.
“It has been a difficult journey for everybody, who has involved when you have to wait for so long for something.… You need things to help keep you motivated and inspired,” Mr. Keegan said. “This song will keep people hopeful.”
According to a brief posted on RTHK’s website yesterday night, Chief Executive C. Y Leung will fully explain the reason behind the license issue in court, but Mr. Leung did explain that Hong Kong will grant only four television licenses based on a consultant’s report that said the city’s market can only support four stations.