You’d think a protest of two million people would make the news. Not to the fine editors of China Daily, a state-run media company owned by the Communist Party of China.
On June 17, the English-language newspaper published an article titled “HK Parents March Against US Meddling” claiming that “foreign entities” were “misleading young people in the city.” According to the piece, around one hundred demonstrators gathered outside the United States Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macau on the morning of June 16 to oppose supposed U.S. intervention on a controversial extradition bill.
What the article failed to mention was that hours after that protest of 100, mere kilometers away from the consulate, nearly 30 per cent of Hong Kong’s population took to the streets to oppose that very bill. Organizers place the number of participants at two million while police only peg it at 338,000. If confirmed, it will be the largest public demonstration in the history of the city-state—even more than the 1.5 million that marched in 1989 during the aftermath of Tiananmen Square.
This show of force is fueled by fears that an extradition treaty between China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan would allow the mainland free reign over whom to arbitrarily bring into its borders.
This is merely the latest in a series of protests going all the way back to March, when the bill was first published.
Coverage of the protests has, expectedly, been severely limited in Mainland China. The keywords “Hong Kong,” “HK,” and “extradition bill” have been scrubbed of any mention of the uprising, according to a report by Abacus, a Hong Kong-based online publication covering tech in China.
The Twittersphere, naturally, has taken this as an opportunity to throw shade:
But while it’s easy to poke fun at China Daily, it bears reminding that its reach isn’t limited to the mainland. It has deals with major media organizations such as the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, and the Washington Post to carry a paid supplement called China Watch, according to a report by The Guardian.
In the era of fake news, it’s not such a laughing matter after all.