South China Morning Post

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South China Morning Post
SCMP logo.svg
SCMP front page on 15 August 2014
Type Daily newspaper
Format Broadsheet
Owner(s) SCMP Group
Editor Wang Xiangwei
Founded 6 November 1903 (40845 issues)
Headquarters Hong Kong
South China Morning Post
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese

The South China Morning Post ('SCMP' or 'the Post'), together with its Sunday edition, the Sunday Morning Post, is a Hong Kong English-language newspaper with a circulation of 104,000, published by the SCMP Group.

The current editor-in-chief is Wang Xiangwei, who has held the role since 2012.[1] Wang previously worked for the China Daily, the BBC and the defunct Eastern Express.



South China Morning Post Ltd was founded by Tse Tsan-tai and Alfred Cunningham in 1903. The first edition of the paper was published on 6 November 1903.

From its founding, during the Qing dynasty (Ching dynasty) until 1913, one year after the establishment of the Republic of China, it was known, in Chinese, as 《南清早報》 (Nánqīng Zǎobào, lit. South Qing Morning Post). In 1913, its Chinese name was changed to 《南華早報》 (lit. South China Morning Post), and has remained as such since then.

The Chinese name of Sunday Morning Post is 《星期日南華早報》 (Xīngqīrì Nánhuá Zǎobào lit. Sunday South China Morning Post).

In November 1971, it was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. It was privatised by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation in 1987, and relisted in 1990.[citation needed]

Malaysian tycoon Robert Kuok's Kerry Media bought the controlling interest from News Corp in October 1993. His son, Kuok Khoon Ean, took over as chairman at the end of 1997.[citation needed] Kuok Khoon Ean's sister, Kuok Hui Kwong, was named chief executive officer on 1 Jan 2009.[2]

Circulation and profitability[edit]

The paper's average audited circulation for the first half of 2007 stood at 106,054, while its Sunday edition, the Sunday Morning Post, has a readership of 80,865. In 2012, the readership of the SCMP and the Sunday Morning Post was estimated at 396,000.[3] Its readership outside Hong Kong remains at some 6,825 copies for the same period, again, relatively unchanged.[4] It also had the position as the most profitable newspaper in the world on a per reader basis, profit declined since peaking in 1997 at HK$805 million,[5] yet its growth potential is viewed as being largely dependent on its ability to penetrate the wider Chinese market.[6]

The Group reported net profit of HK$338 million for the year 2006 (2005 = HK$246m), the operating profit of HK$419m (2005 = HK$306m) was attributable mainly to the newspaper operation.[7]

The selling price of the paper is HK$8 each from Monday to Saturday, and HK$10 for the Sunday Morning Post. A discounted student subscription is also available. It was increased 14.5% (from HK$7) and 25% (from HK$8) respectively in August 2011.

As of 26 August 2010, SCMP Group posted a profit of $52.3 million in the first half of 2010.[8]


The printed version of the Post is in a broadsheet format, in sections: Main, City, Sport, Business, Classifieds, Property (Wednesday), Racing (Wednesday), Technology (Tuesday), Education (Saturday), Style magazine (first Friday of every month); the Sunday edition contains Main, a Review section, a Post Magazine, Racing, "At Your Service", a services directory, and "Young Post", targeted at younger readers.

On 26 March 2007, the Post was given a facelift, with new presentation and fonts.[9] Another redesign in 2011 changed the typefaces to Farnham and Amplitude for headlines, Utopia for text, and Freight for headers.[10]

Online version[edit] is a subscription-only service, which also allows the retrieval of archive articles dating back from 1993. It was launched online in December 1996. On 30 May 2007, relaunched with a new look, features, and multimedia content. Headlines and the introduction to stories are now free to view, while the full articles are available to subscribers. Archive photos and articles are available for purchase.

On 16 July 2007, launched its first-ever viral video marketing campaign targeting a global audience and highlighting the new multimedia features of the website.

At present, the SCMP also provides free subscription to "The South China Morning Post iPad edition" for the Apple iPad.[11] launched a major redesign on 20 April 2015.

Alleged pro-Beijing bias and censorship[edit]

The Kuok family is known to be inclined towards the central government of China, and questions have been raised over the paper's editorial independence.[5] There have been concerns, denied by Kuok, over the forced departures, in rapid succession, of several staff and contributors who were considered critical of China's government or its supporters in Hong Kong. These included, in the mid-1990s, their popular cartoonist Larry Feign, humour columnist Nury Vittachi, and numerous China-desk staff, namely 2000–01 editorial pages editor Danny Gittings, Beijing correspondent Jasper Becker, and China pages editor Willy Lam, who departed after his reporting had been publicly criticised by Robert Kuok.[12][13][14][15]

Cartoonist Feign was abruptly dismissed not long after Kuok's purchase of the newspaper, and after running several cartoons about the culling of human body parts from Chinese prisoners. His firing was defended as "cost cutting", but was widely viewed as political self-censorship during the uncertain final years before Hong Kong's handover to the PRC.[16]

Editorial page editor Gittings complained that in January 2001 he was told to take a "realistic" view of editorial independence and ordered not to run extracts of the Tiananmen Papers, though ultimately was allowed, after protesting "strenuously", to do so. The editor had believed that there had already been sufficient coverage.[17]

At the launch of a joint report published by the Hong Kong Journalists' Association and Article 19 in July 2001, the chairman of the Hong Kong Journalists' Association said: "More and more newspapers self-censor themselves because they are controlled by either a businessman with close ties to Beijing, or part of a large enterprise, which has financial interests over the border."[12]

Mark Clifford, former editor-in-chief of The Standard from 2004–06, was hired as editor-in-chief of 'The Post' in February 2006.[18] He presided over the controversial dismissal of several journalists over an internal prank,[19][20] and himself resigned with effect 1 April 2007.[21]

Editor-in-Chief Wang Xiangwei, appointed by the owner in 2012 after consultation with the Liaison Office, was criticised for his decision to reduce the paper's coverage of the death of Li Wangyang on 7 June 2012.[22] Wang, who had left the office for the day, reportedly returned to the paper after midnight to reverse the staff editors' decision to run a full story. The Post published a two-paragraph report inside the paper; other news media reported it prominently.[23] A senior staff member who sought to understand the decision circulated the resulting email exchanges, that indicate he received a stern rebuff from Wang.[24] Self-censorship concerns were raised in the Chinese-language press of the territory because Wang is Chinese-born, and is a member of the Jilin Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference; the paper has since stepped up coverage of the death and aftermath as major news stories.[25] Wang made a statement on 21 June, in which he said he understood the "huge responsibility to deliver news... [and]... the journalistic heritage we have inherited". and said that his decision not to pursue extensive coverage as the story broke was pending "more facts and details surrounding the circumstances of this case".[26]

Reporter Paul Mooney, whose contract with the paper was not renewed in May 2012, said that the Li Wangyang story was not an isolated incident: Wang Xiangwei has "long had a reputation as being a censor of the news... Talk to anyone on the China reporting team at the South China Morning Post and they'll tell you a story about how Wang has cut their stories, or asked them to do an uninteresting story that was favourable to China."[27]

Despite the reported sentiments of the owners, the Post does report on commemorations of the Tiananmen Square Massacre,[28] and ran an editorial criticising the one-child policy in 2013.[29]

In May 2015, the Post told columnists Philip Bowring, Steve Vines, Kevin Rafferty and Frank Ching that their services would no longer be needed. All have criticised the government in commentaries on various subjects, over a number of years. The manner of their dismissal generated criticism, as well as speculation as to who had effected the removals.[22][30][31]

Notable staff[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "SCMP names new editor-in-chief". [1]. 31 January 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2015. 
  2. ^ Matt Eaton (9 December 2008). "Senior shuffle sees Kuok tighten grip". Marketing-Interactive.Com. LightHouse Independent Media Pte Ltd. Retrieved 14 April 2010. 
  3. ^ "SCMP Delivers More Readers Than Ever". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 13 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "Audit Report". Hong Kong Audit Bureau of Circulations. Retrieved 21 March 2007. 
  5. ^ a b Smith, Patrick (19 November 2006). "Clash of civilizations at Hong Kong newspaper". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 22 March 2007. 
  6. ^ "Two more top editors leave South China Morning Post". International Herald Tribune. 29 January 2007. Retrieved 21 March 2007. 
  7. ^ "Ad revenue lifts SCMP profit 37pc". South China Morning Post. 27 March 2007. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "News Digest". South China Morning Post. 26 March 2007. p. 1. 
  10. ^ Hong Kong’s premiere English language daily introduces changes
  11. ^ "The South China Morning Post iPad edition on iTunes Store". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  12. ^ a b Freedoms eroded to please Beijing: report, The Standard, 2 July 2001
  13. ^ Vanessa Gould, Nelson Lee & Bryan Lee, SAR defends rights record, The Standard, 28 February 2001
  14. ^ 南早赤化 政協做老總, Apple Daily (Chinese)
  15. ^ 新闻特写: 林和立将加盟CNN
  16. ^ Stephen J. Hutcheon, Pressing Concerns: Hong Kong’s Media in an Era of Transition [2]
  17. ^ Greg Rushford, Cover Story: Hong Kong at a Crossroads, April 2002
  18. ^ "SCMP Group Executive Appointment and Changes". South China Morning Post (Press release). Hong Kong. 3 February 2006. Retrieved 7 December 2006. 
  19. ^ Brook, Stephen (14 November 2006). "Subs sacked over leaving page". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 21 March 2007. 
  20. ^ "Two more top editors leave South China Morning Post". International Herald Tribune. 29 January 2007. Retrieved 21 March 2007. 
  21. ^ "Editor quits Post after bitter year". The Standard (Hong Kong). 20 March 2007. Retrieved 21 March 2007. 
  22. ^ a b "Leading Columnists Purged at Hong Kong’s Paper of Record". Asia Sentinel. 20 May 2015. 
  23. ^ Pomfret, James; Tang, Sisi. Reuters (20 June 2012). "China casts long shadow as Hong Kong paper stands accused of censorship". The Republic Archived from the original on 21 June 2012.
  24. ^ Staff reporter (19 June 2012) "Journalistic ethics questioned at SCMP". Asia Sentinel
  25. ^ "Here is the news - or maybe not". The Standard, 20 June 2012
  26. ^ Wang Xiangwei, (21 June 2012). "Statement by the Editor-in-Chief". South China Morning Post.
  27. ^ Paul Mooney, Why I was kicked out of the "South China Morning Post"? iSun Affairs 28 June 2012
  28. ^ "Hong Kong commemorates Tiananmen Square crackdown victims". South China Morning Post. 4 Jun 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  29. ^ Chan, Minnie (30 May 2013). "China's one-child policy causes silent suffering of mothers". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  30. ^ "SCMP ditches columns by veteran journalists". RTHK. 20 May 2015. 
  31. ^ Kwok, Ben (20 May 2015). "SCMP ditches veteran columnists Bowring, Rafferty and Vines". Hong Kong Economic Journal. 
  32. ^ Gary Botting, “Hong Kong: Two Faces of the Orient,” Peterborough Examiner, 1 February 1964; see also Botting's serialized column “Occupational Hazard: The Adventures of a Journalist,” The Advocate, commencing 18 May 1977
  33. ^ "Profile: Gary Botting". ABC Bookworld. 2011. Retrieved 2012-11-09. 
  34. ^ Gary Botting, “The Descent of 20 Battery,” South China Sunday Post-Herald, 31 March 1963; Gary Botting, “The Death or Glory Boys in Macau,” South China Sunday Post-Herald, 16 June 1963; Gary Botting, “A Corporal at Ten,” South China Sunday Post-Herald, 16 June 1983; Gary Botting, “She’s a Bit of Portugal Afloat,” South China Sunday Post-Herald, 23 June 1963, p. 26.
  35. ^ "Jonathan Fenby to resign as editor of Post after 'four momentous years'". South China Morning Post. 1999-06-16. Retrieved 2013-01-25. 
  36. ^ "Explorers: Ma Jun". National Geographic. Retrieved 2012-07-26. 

External links[edit]