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Hong Kong's crackdown on humor is not funny -- or a surprise

Satire always troubles the authoritarian world of insecurity and paranoia

| Hong Kong
Cartoonist Zunzi in 1996 in front of depictions he created of Hong Kong and Chinese leaders, including Tung Chee-hwa, left: It is hard to know what triggers the itchy fingers of the censors.   © AP

Stephen Vines is the author of "Defying the Dragon: Hong Kong and the World's Largest Dictatorship." He was previously a presenter for Radio Television Hong Kong and a columnist for Apple Daily.

Back in 2003, I was one of the founders of the Hong Kong satirical magazine Spike. We upset a lot of people, mainly in government and business, and entertained many others but never really thought of ourselves as canny foretellers of what was in store for the former British colony, which had been returned to Chinese rule just six years previously.

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