Letter: Mr Feign and the Hong Kong press

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Mr Feign and the Hong Kong press

Sir: It was hardly surprising that your new cartoonist, Larry Feign, should make his debut on the foreign pages today with a wholesale libel on the press here which chooses not to run his "Lily Wong" strip. And naturally, he cannot resist repeating his shopworn pun on the name of my newspaper (though he treads carefully with the far more numerous Chinese- language titles).

Readers unacquainted with the hothouse media world in Hong Kong should know that Mr Feign has strong feelings about the South China Morning Post, which dropped "Lily Wong" almost two years ago. My predecessor was applying one of those cost-cutting exercises which hit most newspapers from time to time, and decided to economise on the strip.

Of course, despite the absence of evidence, nobody in their right mind could possibly believe that the decision hadn't been taken for dark political motives - an allegation which The Independent cheerfully retailed, again with zero evidence, when announcing that you would be running "Lily Wong".

I, myself, wasn't involved in the decision to drop the strip, but I must admit that I had been taken aback by Mr Feign's drawings of Chinese with streams of spit coming from their mouth or as caricatures worthy of a 1940s Yellow Peril comic. If that's being pro-China, I can only plead guilty. (How would you feel about a strip which showed South African blacks as fuzzy-wuzzies and witch doctors, or Israeli security police as hook- nosed shekel-counters?).

You may also understand the reaction here of local journalists, who are doing a difficult job with great professionalism, when this kind of insult is what they get in return.

JONATHAN FENBY

South Morning China Post

Hong Kong

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