Hong Kong's ATV Retracts Chinese Leader Death Reports

ATV says reports are 'pure rumor.'

HONG KONG -- Asia Television (ATV) issued an apology on Thursday for the Wednesday’s primetime news reports of the death of former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin.

The terrestrial station rescinded its two reports on Jiang’s death and apologized to the former president and the Hong Kong public in a press release and on its news broadcasts, after China’s official Xinhua news agency released a terse statement quoting “authoritative sources."

“Recent reports of some overseas media organizations about Jiang Zemin's death from illness are ‘pure rumor,'" ATV said in a statement.

The Hong Kong China News Agency quoted an unnamed official of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong S.A.R. condemning ATV’s Jiang death reports as “grave violation of journalistic ethics,” and expressed “extreme anger.”

The Hong Kong Broadcast Authority received 18 complaints about within 24 hours, which criticized the ATV reports as misleading.

Wang Zheng, one of ATV’s major shareholders, told reporters that he only learnt of the Jiang report when he watched the ATV news broadcast.