The Web site has enjoyed "hits" from all over the world. Adams takes as compliments comments like this one from the United States: "I am really surprised that the PLA (China's People's Liberation Army) hasn't had you rubbed out."
Adams' work continues as the pro-democracy movement gains ground. Activist Marlin Lee and former journalist Emily Lau won convincing victories in May legislative council elections imposed by Beijing. Lee and Lau have been saying some of the same things as Adams, including criticism of Hong Kong's chief excessive Tung Chee-hwa.
NTSCMP is an example of a burgeoning Internet phenomenon: a small, often one-man publisher takes on a respected institution. But like Matt Drudge's online report (which has fueled the Clinton-Lewinsky controversy in the U.S. among other political scandals), there can be questions about sourcing and veracity.
Founded in 1903, the Post grew up with Hong Kong, and has long enjoyed a respectable reputation. It was previously owned by Australian media baron Rupert Murdoch who sold it several years ago to pro-Beijing expatriate Chinese Robert Kuok, owner of the luxury Shangri-la Hotel chain.
The paper's circulation is only 130,000 but, it frequently carries classified advertising sections of over 100 pages and remains the favored paper of the "business-banking establishment," indicative of Hong Kong's international character. The Post boasts its own highly-praised Web site (www.scmp.com), which carries many of the features of the daily paper.
It should be noted that the Post has carried stories about the recent pro-democracy election wins, although Adams believes the coverage was biased toward Beijing. The paper also covered the first protest march on June 1 in Hong Kong commemorating the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. It was the first post-handover march in the city to protest China's crackdown on student activists.
So far, there has been no attempt at censorship of his Web site, Adams said. But his comment came amid reports that China is indeed trying selectively to check the spread of Internet access. Cox News Service reported recently: "You cannot access the 'Human Rights in China' Web site in Hong Kong that one is blocked by a Chinese censor's electronic filters ."
Some Asian press observers view Adams and his "NOT The South China Morning Post" site as kin to the lone Chinese who challenged the column of tanks at Tiananmen Square in June 1989. It remains to be seen how long his Web-based challenge will be tolerated by the Chinese authorities. (1)
Fenby and I finally met in Kobe, Japan, in May 1998 at the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) convention. We had several glasses of red wine, joking that it was supposed "to be good for the heart.