News / Asia

    Newscast Subtitles Prompt Debate in Hong Kong

    FILE - A woman walks on a bridge near the Central district of Hong Kong, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016. More than 10,000 people wrote to TVB to complain about the subtitles.
    FILE - A woman walks on a bridge near the Central district of Hong Kong, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016. More than 10,000 people wrote to TVB to complain about the subtitles.

    A Hong Kong TV station’s use of a Chinese script associated with the mainland has sparked a public outcry amid concerns Beijing is eroding the city's identity.

    More than 10,000 people wrote to TVB, Hong Kong’s largest television station, criticizing its decision to use simplified Chinese characters during its newscast. Hong Kong uses "traditional Chinese," a more complex set of characters, whereas "simplified Chinese" is more popular on the mainland.

    The station started using simplified characters for its subtitles, graphics and other elements in its newscasts Monday when it switched to the HD Jade channel, renamed J5. The station maintains that under the terms of its license it is required to use subtitles in simplified characters.

    Language has become an increasingly sensitive issue as concern grows that Beijing is trying to stamp out local culture in the semi-autonomous city.

    “I think that by changing the language, they are changing the culture. So I am definitely against it,” said 29-year-old Kiwi Lau, who works for an education company in Hong Kong.

    The decision sparked online criticism. One Internet user said, “Way to go TVB for being a tool to help push for mainlandization.”

    Lawmaker Claudia Mo of the Civic Party wrote a letter to TVB, asking the network to provide viewers with a choice between traditional and simplified characters.

    “This TV station using Mao Tse-Tung script for subtitles is actually to us, part of a major trend in Hong Kong, to mainlandize Hong Kong. By mainlandization of Hong Kong, I mean they are trying to assimilate Hong Kong into the vast hinterlands of mainland China, and towards the end of the day, we will become just another third-rate Chinese city,” she said.

    In addition to Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau also still use traditional characters. China’s Communist Party introduced simplified characters as part of a literary campaign throughout China, and they are now used widely on the mainland.

    FILE - Residents hold banners outside the high court where Wen Qiang, the former municipal justice chief, was sentenced to death in Chongqing municipality. Simplified characters such as these were introduced in the mainland as part of a literacy campaign.
    FILE - Residents hold banners outside the high court where Wen Qiang, the former municipal justice chief, was sentenced to death in Chongqing municipality. Simplified characters such as these were introduced in the mainland as part of a literacy campaign.

    This is the second controversy in Hong Kong this month over the use of simplified characters. Earlier in February some education officials suggested incorporating simplified characters into the local curriculum. That also prompted widespread criticism among activists, lawmakers and Internet users.

    The state-run People’s Daily newspaper ran an editorial this week accusing “Hong Kong radicals” of attempting to assert “cultural superiority” through the debate over traditional versus simplified characters.

    “Why is Hong Kong, as a special administrative region, so sensitive towards simplified characters?” the paper asked. The editorial also addressed the use of simplified characters in Hong Kong’s education system. “From an education point of view, for Hong Kong students learning simplified characters, not only will they be able to access wider reading materials,” the article said, “They will also get more opportunities in the future.”

    Ip Kin-yuen, a member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong for Education constituency and a chief executive for Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union, said there are no immediate plans to use simplified characters in Hong Kong schools.

    “I think there is no need to introduce simplified writing into formal curriculum in school. If people need to acquire that knowledge they can easily do it by themselves in an informal way,” he said.

    The debate over simplified versus traditional characters comes weeks after violent riots in the neighborhood of Mong Kok, where protesters said an effort by police to shut down illegal food stalls was an example of erosion of local culture.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    Party's presumptive presidential nominee, her vice presidential pick deliver optimistic message in Florida as they campaign for first time together

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora