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Even Alt Weeklies Favor Free Trade in Hong Kong


Like most major cities, Hong Kong has several alt weeklies. You know, those tabloid-size papers that feature liberal politics, the cartoon “Red Meat,” Dan Savage’s advice column and a lot of racy personal ads?

Most of the alt weeklies I’ve come across in the U.S., like the Village Voice or the Austin Chronicle, support the coalition of lefties that typically turns out to protest free trade conferences. So imagine my surprise when I picked up an alt weekly here called Hong Kong Magazine and found an article denouncing the protesters, titled “The WTO Rioters [sic] Guide to Hong Kong.”

The article is an A-to-Z guide to “the ultimate snakepit of globalization” — Hong Kong. It is strongly critical of the groups that protest the WTO. Lest you think this is some kind of disguised right-wing propaganda, “E” for environment concedes “This might be the one place where [the protesters] have a point”, and “P” for peace takes a shot at the war in Iraq. But the spirit of the article is summed up in “G” for globalization:

While we’re on the topic, just what is your beef anyway? That people trade with other parts of the world? That farmers in South Korea don’t get enough money for their rice? Or is it really that you just don’t like US President George Bush and feel like you need somewhere to complain? Just so you know, McDonald’s and Nike didn’t create this G-word, you know — we all did. And if we didn’t, many of the people around today wouldn’t be here.
And “N” for no message:

This group wants that. That group wants this. Why don’t you all meet somewhere, decide what you really want, and get back to us? Just don’t do it here. Try it on one of those farms in Bolivia you keep talking about.
But above all, “X” for xenophobia is a pithy articulation on why free trade should be a liberal as well as conservative value:

Xenophobia. We hate it. We enjoy traveling, learning more about other cultures, tasting their cuisines, buying their products and making friends. The fewer borders, the better.
I’m going to steal a bunch of copies of this magazine and drop it off wherever the EU delegates are staying.


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