Housing problems has plagued Hong Kong for years, the government proposed to set up new towns in the northeast New Territories in 2008. Recently, the government Development Bureau issued two television announcements to promote the plan. In the announcements the government claimed, “Every generation deserves a better living environment, North East New Territories New Development Areas, New Towns for Hong Kong People”. The announcements, however, were strongly opposed by some villagers and conservation groups who had to give up their houses and farmlands because of the proposed plan. They insisted that the announcements misled the Hong Kong citizens to believe the new town development is legal, aims for their benefits and the indigenous are hindering the development.
This paper will firstly introduce the two television announcements, “North East NT New Development Areas Father and Daughter Version” and “North East NT New Development Areas Mother and Son Version” to investigate the power relations between the government and the protestors, and then analysis the two television announcements with theories in Register Analysis and also Critical Discourse Analysis and discuss how the government persuade the Hong Kong citizens to support the new development plan through television announcements and the limitations on the analysis. Lastly, will summarize the main points with conclusion remark.
Background Information of the Television Announcements
The Hong Kong government promoted the North East New Territories New Development Areas Plan in the last three months as to promote the land was needed for housing and supporting facilities because of the saturated urban areas in the older new towns. The controversies arose surrounding the New Development Areas. Some protesters, including indigenous residents and social activists claimed that the government used its authority to launch the scheme without proper public consultation and impelling the indigenous citizens to leave their land.
Despite the heavy resistant from the indigenous, the government issued the two announcements declaring that the land is the new towns for Hong Kong People. The protestors insisted the television announcements were actually misleading the public to believe the indigenous citizens are hindering the development of Hong Kong, obstructing the government to build new homes for the Hong Kong citizens and hiding the real truth behind the development, “constructing a backyard for the rich of Shenzhen”.
The Power of the Government
In the case, the observation showed the government was using its power to prevail others. Political scientists frequently define power as the ability to influence the behavior of others with or without resistance. Authority is often used for power perceived as legitimate by the social structure. The Hong Kong Government, obviously, was using the legitimate power that is conferred by the social structure to make change of the current situation. As the domination, the Hong Kong Government issued the television announcements to insist the northeast New Territories must be the new home for the future Hong Kong citizens, secures the compliance of others, even against the local villagers’ resistance.
As always, there is a common phenomenon observed in government policy making. The government usually promotes policies in a way that is not considering the interests of all the involved groups and failing to avoid potentials problems arise. Although the Government insisted that there is widespread public support for the development and the government already made a compromise on compensation plan, the reactions of the protestors and also television announcements indicated that the government seemed not considering the interest of indigenous before the problems arise.
In this case, the use of power is not the most effective way...