Hong Kong's Asia Television News Heads Resign Over Chinese Leader Death Report

The station was forced to rescind the report after several days.

HONG KONG – Two Asia Television (ATV) news department heads have resigned over the July 6 report of the death of former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin.

The station rescinded their report the day after the report aired and apologized to the former president and the Hong Kong public after China’s Xinhua news agency condemned the reports as “pure rumor.”

ATV senior VP of news and public affairs Leung Ka-wing, a veteran of Hong Kong broadcast news who in his new four-decade-long career had worked for ATV, Television Broadcast (TVB), and the now-defunct Commercial Television, and his deputy Tammy Tam, known to have close ties with the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council of China, attributed the false death report as the cause of their resignations. 

Leung said in an interview with ATV News that he was taking responsibility “because despite my best efforts, I couldn’t stop this report from being aired.” Leung has reportedly offered his resignation two days after the death report that cited unnamed Beijing sources. 

The Hong Kong Broadcasting Authority has received 41 complaints about the Jiang death report, and is conducting an investigation into the role of ATV owner and Shanghai property tycoon Wang Zheng in the station’s operations. 

The Legislative Council Panel on Information Technology and Broadcasting chairman Wong Yuk-man announced on Monday a meeting to discuss any possible interference of journalistic freedom on the part of the ATV management when the Council resumes in October.

Leung’s position is being taken up by former ATV news and public affairs deputy VP Liu Lan-chang