Govt says RTHK has breached 'One China' principle - RTHK
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Govt says RTHK has breached 'One China' principle

2020-04-02 HKT 16:44
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  • Govt says RTHK has breached 'One China' principle
The SAR government said on Thursday that RTHK had breached the "One China" principle and its mission as a public service broadcaster with a report on Taiwan being ignored by the World Health Organisation amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

An interview with the WHO's assistant director-general Bruce Aylward in the latest episode of RTHK's "The Pulse" has been watched by millions across the globe after going viral on social media. The exchange was reported on by numerous media outlets across the world after Aylward appeared to pretend not to hear a question regarding Taiwan and then apparently ended the video call.

"Will the WHO reconsider Taiwan's membership?", reporter Yvonne Tong asked Aylward.

After more than 10 seconds of silence, Tong asks "Hello?", with Aylward saying "I’m sorry I couldn’t hear your question, Yvonne."

When Tong offers to repeat the question, he tells her to move on to something else, and when she mentions Taiwan again, the call ends.

RTHK reconnected the video chat and Tong asked Aylward if he could comment on how Taiwan has done in tacking Covid-19. 'Well, we've already talked about China," he replied.

The Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, which oversees RTHK, issued a statement on Thursday in response to media enquires regarding the TV show.

It first noted that in recent comments in response to other controversies involving the public broadcaster that Commerce and Economic Development Secretary Edward Yau had told RTHK it must uphold and abide by its charter when discharging its duties, including its mission to foster a sense of citizenship and national identity.

"The secretary holds the view that the presentation in that episode of the aforesaid programme has breached the One-China Principle and the purposes and mission of RTHK as a public service broadcaster as specified in the charter," the statement goes on to say.

"It is common knowledge that the WHO membership is based on sovereign states. RTHK, as a government department and a public service broadcaster, should have proper understanding of the above without any deviation. As the Editor-in-chief of RTHK, the Director of Broadcasting should be responsible for this."

The statement said Yau had once again urged Director of Broadcasting Leung Ka-wing and RTHK to fully abide by the charter and that "they must handle all programmes in a professional and vigilant manner as required of them."

RTHK has repeatedly found itself in the spotlight since the SAR's social unrest erupted last June, facing repeated accusations from pro-police and pro-establishment figures that it is biased in favour of the anti-government protesters.

Police Commissioner Chris Tang announced last month that he was reporting the station to the Communications Authority, saying some RTHK programmes, notably the satirical show "Headliner", were misleading the public about the work of his officers, and this could lead to a loss of confidence in the force, an increase in crime, and an erosion of law and order.

Addressing the row with the police, Leung said in a letter to RTHK staff last month that various government departments should respect each other and understand that they have different roles to play in society.