March 2 - Over 1,000 people protest after a former chief editor of a major Hong Kong newspaper was stabbed and seriously wounded. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION). STORY: Thousands in Hong Kong took to the streets on Sunday (March 2) to protest the stabbing of a former chief editor in an attack that has fuelled concerns about what many see as an erosion of media freedoms. Holding a banner declaring "they can't kill us all", the protesters in black shirts and wearing blue ribbons symbolizing press freedom expressed their shock and anger at the attack last Wednesday (February 26). A man in a helmet attacked Kevin Lau, former chief editor of the Ming Pao daily, in broad daylight on a leafy harbourfront street, slashing him in the back several times. The assailant rode off on a motorcycle with an accomplice. The attack took place days after 6,000 journalists marched to Hong Kong's government headquarters to demand the city's leaders uphold press freedom against what they see as intrusions from mainland China in a politically sensitive year. Doctors said Lau's injuries were severe and included a 16-cm (6.5-inch) gash. He was in an intensive care unit on Saturday (March 1). Local television footage showed Lau on a stretcher in hospital and making an "OK" sign with his left hand. The former Hong Kong-born editor was recently replaced by a Malaysian Chinese journalist, with suspected pro-Beijing leanings. Lau's removal to a lesser role in the group sparked a revolt in the Ming Pao newsroom by journalists who suggested the paper's editorial independence might be undermined. Last Thursday (February 27), one day after the attack, about 80 newsroom staff in black shirts held up the newspaper's frontpage, masthead in black, in silent protest of the violence. An incident of such brutality is unusual in the former British colony, which reverted to Chinese rule in 1997.