Bitter battle rages over Hong Kong radio host taken off the air.
Hong Kong’s most popular radio program was taken off the air indefinitely on Tuesday after a bitter row over censorship and alleged threats from pro-Chinese Government forces.
Teacup in a Storm, a raucous chat program that voiced complaints and grievances about the authorities, has been at the centre of its own storm since its presenter, Albert Cheng, said in March that he was “taking a sabbatical”. He claimed to have received death threats, and two stand-ins have also left, saying they were threatened anonymously over criticisms of the Chinese Government.
On Monday, the affair blew up into a public row between Mr Cheng and his boss, Winnie Yu, Commercial Radio’s chief executive, after he said he would stand in September’s legislative council elections as a pro-democracy candidate.
Mr Cheng turned up at a news conference being held by Miss Yu and said he had agreed to quit the program, but had been told that his contract would be paid off only if he agreed not to stand. Miss Yu denied this, as well as allegations that she had come under pressure from the Government, but she said Teacup in a Storm needed to change and become more “rational”.
On Tuesday, after Mr Cheng said he would return to the station after the elections, Miss Yu said it would be taken off air.
Mr Cheng – often known by the ironic nickname Taipan, the traditional title for Hong Kong’s boss class – has long been a thorn in the side of the Beijing-appointed Government in Hong Kong.
Some believe he over-reacted to the threats in March but he had some reason: He was attacked with a meat cleaver by unknown assailants in 1998, and in recent months offices of some pro-democracy politicians have been repeatedly vandalised.
The elections will test popular reaction to Beijing’s decision in April to veto any move towards free elections for the territory’s chief executive – a decision criticised by Stephen Bradley, the British Consul-General in Hong Kong on Tuesday.
Author: Richard Spencer
News Service: Telegraph