On winning the Kam Yiu-yu Press Freedom Award

Bruce Lui - Principal Reporter, Cable TV News China Desk

[中文]  [Jul 2012 - The Journalist] I expressed my heartfelt thanks to the judges of the Kam Yiu-yu Press Freedom Awards. The documentaries on 'Petition' which portrayed the suffering of China's grassroots and forgotten ones, would not have aroused such attention without their recommendation.
This has called the attention of the mainland government to address injustices in the legal system, to stop violent and repressive treatment of petitioners and above all, to correct social problems and deal with unrest in a conciliatory way.
I owe my deepest gratitude to Cable TV's China Desk. We have always upheld important values: conscience, audacity and truth. We see it as our duty to defend press freedom and maintain a sense of responsibility to the country. With such thoughts in mind, my colleagues and I have nothing to worry about when we go about reporting and investigative reporting on the mainland. We can always tell what we are obliged to tell in our stories. I feel deeply honored and will always treasure my opportunity to work in this environment, which I believe requires much persistence to maintain, under today's degrading media ecology.
I cannot thank my colleagues enough. Every story involves their fearless hearts and extraordinary courage to overcome considerable difficulties. They may seem calm and cool on the surface, but they actually finish their task gasping from hardship, with their clothes dripping in sweat, their bodies shivering. Because of the support of a closely-knit team and buoyed by a great spirit, I can achieve this.
After coming back from China and 'recharging', the team will be ready to go back to China again with high spirits. You do not hear them whining, they just keep going like this and striving for the best.
The Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying once said during his election campaign that he visited the community with 'one stool, one notebook and one pen'. We Chinese beat reporters visit the 'community' with not just 'one notebook and one pen', but also our 'life' so as to wrestle with the mainland governments with our wit and stamina.
In this TV documentary on 'Petition', I had to get rid of the stalking security officers before meeting up with the Judge for Petition in Hubei. I registered a fake name to conduct my interview with him in a hotel room. I planned meticulously so that we arrived at different times.
On another occasion when I was interviewing a retired director of Office of Letters and Calls of Guangxi Provincial People's Government, he and my crew and literally acted like thieves, sneaking into the provincial office building during official lunch time and rest break to film, so that he could jog his memory by visiting his former workplace.
We also secretly took the 'petition bus' with other petitioners to State Bureau for Letters and Calls in Beijing, but we were discovered by the driver on the way. He immediately locked the door and called the police. We barely managed to escape with the help of other petitioners. In Beijing, I had to interview some aged homeless petitioners in an underground tunnel which was full of monitoring cameras. Once alerted, police would arrive within five to ten minutes and shut everything down. These interviews had to be brief and precise, if not in near chaos, to avoid wasting all the previous efforts.
I also recall much hardship during my work on the feature Sequel to the Nuclear Weapons Test on Soldiers. We were threatened and interviewees were monitored. I even got a message from the security that we had to stop now. But there was to be afraid of. We know what should be done and we will be at it.
A hundred years ago China was being oppressed by foreign powers because she was weak and the Chinese people could not stand up against it. A hundred years later, China is strong but still the Chinese people who cannot stand up. There were Li Wangyang, Chen Guangcheng, Liu Xiaobo, Tan Zuoren, Feng Zhenghu and many more nameless ones who fell down, were expelled or are in prison. Many petitioners still live like ants or certified as “mentally-ill” or injected with tranquillising drugs or have a gun at their head and warned not to petition again.
Journalists should not ignore and be silent when they witness these unjust tragedies.
Kam Yiu-yu Press Freedom Awards

A series of reports on ‘Protests at Wukan’ by Ming Pao’s reporters Manson Chum and Wat Chun-lok and ‘Petition’ by Cable TV’s reporter Bruce Lui were the winners of the Print Media and Television categories of the Third Annual Kam Yiu-yu Press Freedom Awards out of 28 entries.

‘The Chinese Jasmine Revolution’ by RTHK’s reporter Emily Chan, a series reports on ‘Ballot Stuffing of Election of District Council’ by Apple Daily General News Division and ‘Blood Mines by now News’ reporters Lee Yee-chong and Eric Lee were awarded to the merit award in the Radio, Print Media and Television Media category respectively.

The prizes presentation ceremony was held in April. The six judges were Professor Joseph Chan, School of Journalism and Communications of the Chinese University of Hong Kong; Professor Chan Yuen-ying, Director of Journalism and Media Studies Centre of The University of Hong Kong, Professor Lee Chin-chuan, Head of the Department of Media and Communications of City University of Hong Kong; Dr. Leonard Chu, retired Professor of the School of Communications, Hong Kong Baptist University; Mr. Ching Cheong, Chairperson of Kam Yiu-yu Foundation and Ms. Mak Yin-ting, Chairperson of Hong Kong Journalists Association.