Steve Vines

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Stephen Vines
Steve Vines 韋安仕.png
Born1949/1950 (age 72–73)[1]
Political partyCivic Party
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese韋安仕

Stephen Vines is a British journalist, writer, broadcaster and restaurateur, who was based in Hong Kong from 1987 to 2021.[2]


Vines first moved to Hong Kong in 1987 as a south-east Asia correspondent for The Observer, with the intent of staying for a few years.[1][3] He then went on to work as a correspondent for the BBC, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent and Asia Times. Vines was the founding editor of Eastern Express, and the founder and publisher of Spike, a political and business weekly magazine.[4] Both the Eastern Express and Spike failed shortly after their launch.[5][6] He was involved with the start-up of Hong Kong Free Press.[7] He once served as the president of the Foreign Correspondents' Club.[8]

Vines also hosted The Pulse, a current affairs TV programme on RTHK. The programme was terminated in July 2021 amid a shakedown at the "embattled" public broadcaster.[2][8][9]

Apart from journalism, he operated companies in the food and beverage sector. He was also a founding member of the Civic Party.[7][10]

Political views[edit]

Criticism of the central Chinese and Hong Kong governments[edit]

Vines has been a repeated critic of both the Chinese Central Government and the Chinese government of Hong Kong ever since the handover. Already in 1997, Vines compared the handling of the media by the government of Hong Kong's first Chief Executive Tung Chee-Hwa unfavorably to Hong Kong's last British governor Chris Patten, whom he called "very media-savvy and media-friendly."[11] Vines described Tung's administration as "staggeringly incompetent."[12] More recently, he has again compared the years before the handover under colonial rule favorably to the post-1997 period.[13] He has generally criticized Hong Kong's Chief Executives as supposedly being too loyal to the Chinese central government, for example describing the administration of Carrie Lam as "quislings."[14][15][16] He has lamented that "[a]fter the handover there was a frenzy of tearing down structural reminders of British colonial rule" and claims that the Chinese central government has repeatedly "undermined" Hong Kong's autonomy since 1997.[17]

Departure from Hong Kong[edit]

Vines in St. Albans, England, 2021

In August 2021, Vines announced he left Hong Kong for the UK in fear of "white terror" under the Hong Kong national security law. In an email to his friends and colleagues, he wrote, "[t]he white terror sweeping through Hong Kong is far from over and the near-term prospects of things getting better are simply non-existent".[18][19] He told the Financial Times that he had been targeted by pro-Beijing people. He said, "[t]hey have this band of people who are not officially sanctioned... who go around threatening anybody who has, so called, stepped out of line. Unfortunately, I was one of those. [The person] said quite aggressively... 'you better watch your step, we are coming for you.'"[8] Reflecting in Hong Kong Free Press on his departure, Vines wrote that "loving Hong Kong has become a suspect activity".[20]

Vines, along with several other former Hong Kong residents, ultimately settled in the English town of St. Albans.[1]


  • Defying the Dragon: Hong Kong and the World's Largest Dictatorship. London: Hurst. 2021. ISBN 9781787384552.
  • Food Gurus: 20 People who Changed the Way We Eat and Think About Food. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish. 2012. ISBN 9789814361071.
  • Sai Kung for All Seasons. Hong Kong: FormAsia. 2012. ISBN 9789881556257.
  • Market Panic: Wild Gyrations, Risks and Opportunities in Stock Markets. Wiley. 2003. ISBN 9780470821527.
  • The Years of Living Dangerously: Asia – From Financial Crisis to the New Millennium. London: Orion Business. 2000. ISBN 9780752820729.
  • Hong Kong: China's New Colony. London: Aurum Press. 1998. ISBN 9781854105790.


  1. ^ a b c "Space for Journalism Shrinking 'by the Day,' Hong Kong Journalist Says". VOA. Retrieved 17 September 2021.
  2. ^ a b Welle (, Deutsche. "香港移民潮:传媒人、艺术家纷纷出走 | DW | 03.08.2021". DW.COM (in Chinese (China)). Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  3. ^ Vines, Steve (8 August 2021). "I covered Hong Kong for decades. Now I am forced to flee China's 'white terror'". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ "FCC club dinner with Stephen VINES". The Foreign Correspondents' Club, Hong Kong | FCC. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  5. ^ Journal, Erik GuyotStaff Reporter of The Wall Street (2 July 1996). "Failure to Find Niche Leads Eastern Express to Fold". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 5 September 2021.
  6. ^ "Greater China: Headline - Spike magazine folds after failing to get investors | News". Campaign Asia. Retrieved 5 September 2021.
  7. ^ a b rsbradbeer (3 August 2021). "Veteran Sai Kung journalist Steve Vines flees 'white terror in HK' for UK". HONG KONG BUZZ. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  8. ^ a b c Riordan, Primrose; Liu, Nicolle (3 August 2021). "Veteran journalist flees 'white terror sweeping' Hong Kong". Financial Times. Retrieved 3 August 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ Grundy, Tom (4 July 2021). "The Pulse with Steve Vines is latest news show to be axed by public broadcaster RTHK". Hong Kong Free Press. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  10. ^ "我的香港十年:變與不變". 19 June 2007. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  11. ^ "The Case of Jimmy Lai: Hong Kong's Press Freedom Canary? - Committee to Protect Journalists". 27 June 2021. Archived from the original on 27 June 2021. Retrieved 4 September 2021.
  12. ^ Hong Kong in focus : political and economic issues. S. G. Rioni. Hauppauge, N.Y.: Nova Science Publishers. 2002. p. 118. ISBN 1-59033-237-7. OCLC 57352579.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  13. ^ Vines, Stephen (7 October 2021). "Why did Hong Kong need 8,000 police to help it celebrate National Day?". Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  14. ^ Vines, Stephen (2021). Defying the dragon : Hong Kong and the world's largest dictatorship. London. pp. Appendix II. ISBN 978-1-78738-455-2. OCLC 1197720182.
  15. ^ "What about a real Communist to lead Hong Kong? EJINSIGHT -". EJINSIGHT. Retrieved 5 September 2021.
  16. ^ "How Hong Kong's tyrants are taking baby steps towards dictatorship". Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. 4 September 2021. Retrieved 4 September 2021.
  17. ^ Vines, Stephen (2021). Defying the dragon : Hong Kong and the world's largest dictatorship. London. pp. 29–32. ISBN 978-1-78738-455-2. OCLC 1197720182.
  18. ^ "Journalist Steve Vines flees 'white terror in HK' - RTHK". Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  19. ^ "Ex-RTHK broadcaster and HKFP columnist Steve Vines leaves Hong Kong for UK citing 'white terror'". Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. 3 August 2021. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  20. ^ Vines, Stephen (6 August 2021). "Steve Vines: Loving Hong Kong has become a suspect activity – why, at last, it was time to leave". Hong Kong Free Press.