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Special feature

Changing Political Economy of the Hong Kong Media

Francis L. F. Lee
p. 9-18


Most observers argued that press freedom in Hong Kong has been declining continually over the past 15 years. This article examines the problem of press freedom from the perspective of the political economy of the media. According to conventional understanding, the Chinese government has exerted indirect influence over the Hong Kong media through co-opting media owners, most of whom were entrepreneurs with ample business interests in the mainland. At the same time, there were internal tensions within the political economic system. The latter opened up a space of resistance for media practitioners and thus helped the media system as a whole to maintain a degree of relative autonomy from the power centre. However, into the 2010s, the media landscape has undergone several significant changes, especially the worsening media business environment and the growth of digital media technologies. These changes have affected the cost-benefit calculations of media ownership and led to the entrance of Chinese capital into the Hong Kong media scene. The digital media arena is also facing the challenge of intrusion by the state.

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Bibliographical reference

Francis L. F. Lee, « Changing Political Economy of the Hong Kong Media », China Perspectives, 2018/3 | 2018, 9-18.

Electronic reference

Francis L. F. Lee, « Changing Political Economy of the Hong Kong Media », China Perspectives [Online], 2018/3 | 2018, Online since 01 September 2018, connection on 23 November 2020. URL : ; DOI :

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About the author

Francis L. F. Lee

Francis L. F. Lee is Professor in the School of Journalism and Communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.School of Journalism and Communication, Room 206-207, Humanities Building, New Asia College, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong (

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