Oral Answers to Questions — Hong Kong (Communist Publications)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th July 1949.

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Photo of Mr David Gammans Mr David Gammans , Hornsey 12:00 am, 27th July 1949

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies why permission is given to Communists in Hong Kong to continue the publication of newspapers and pamphlets in view of the closing by the Communist authorities in Shanghai of the British Information Service.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel David Rees-Williams Lieut-Colonel David Rees-Williams , Croydon South

It has been the consistent policy of the Hong Kong Government to permit freedom of the Press and of publication to all shades of opinion provided activities contrary to the law or prejudicial to public security in Hong Kong are not indulged in. In general, these limits have not been overstepped. The restrictive tendencies of the Communist administration in China in relation to the freedom of news and information services are, however, naturally being closely watched both by His Majesty's Government and by the Government of Hong Kong.

Photo of Mr David Gammans Mr David Gammans , Hornsey

Does the hon. Gentleman feel that he can continue that attitude when the Chinese Communist Government do not allow the opposite to operate in Shanghai and, secondly, when it will probably be only a matter of months before the Chinese Communist forces will be investing Hong Kong?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel David Rees-Williams Lieut-Colonel David Rees-Williams , Croydon South

I think the last part of the supplementary question is a very foolish statement. I would also draw the attention of the hon. Member to the fact that both Reuters and the "North China Daily News" are still functioning in China.

Photo of Mr David Gammans Mr David Gammans , Hornsey

Will the hon. Gentleman say why my statement was foolish when the Chinese Communist Government have made it perfectly clear what are their intentions to the West and when it is obvious that before long they will be controlling the whole of South China? Where does the foolishness come in?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel David Rees-Williams Lieut-Colonel David Rees-Williams , Croydon South

Because, as far as I am aware, the Communist Government have never stated that they are going to invest Hong Kong.

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

Is it not true that nothing but good reports have come from the liberated areas and that the leaders of the liberating forces are anxious to have an understanding with the representatives of His Majesty's Government?

Photo of Mr Harold Davies Mr Harold Davies , Leek

Is my hon. Friend aware that if we follow a vigorous Labour policy in the Colonies that will be much more constructive than a negative policy of witch hunting every little Communist paper which may be published in the Colonies?