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Two Sides of A Lie

Elaine Chan and Lee Jeong-ho
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It was a chilly September evening when the body of a young pro-democracy protester surfaced in Hong Kong’s eastern Yau Tong Bay. The local police quickly concluded his death as accidental drowning but fellow protesters believe it was part of a dark ploy by the authorities to quash the political movement.

James Lai, the Han Herald’s senior reporter, is assigned to investigate the mysterious death. Unbeknownst to him, the assignment is a front created by his editors to shift the narrative against leaders in Beijing, unnerved by the intensified public opinion. As he digs deeper, he finds himself coming to close brush with the forces of a power struggle among the Party’s top brass. His pursuit of the truth challenges his personal and professional integrity at every step of the way. Faced with a politically-pressured media environment in Hong Kong and the Herald newsroom that has declined from a once globally respected publication to a propaganda mouthpiece, James can only trust his own journalistic beliefs and dogged reporting to piece together the mystery and bring the story to life. Nonetheless, the answers he uncovers of the conspiracy are more sinister than he could have imagined.

Published: May/2021

ISBN: 9789814954075

Length: 276 Pages

Two Sides of A Lie

Elaine Chan and Lee Jeong-ho

It was a chilly September evening when the body of a young pro-democracy protester surfaced in Hong Kong’s eastern Yau Tong Bay. The local police quickly concluded his death as accidental drowning but fellow protesters believe it was part of a dark ploy by the authorities to quash the political movement.

James Lai, the Han Herald’s senior reporter, is assigned to investigate the mysterious death. Unbeknownst to him, the assignment is a front created by his editors to shift the narrative against leaders in Beijing, unnerved by the intensified public opinion. As he digs deeper, he finds himself coming to close brush with the forces of a power struggle among the Party’s top brass. His pursuit of the truth challenges his personal and professional integrity at every step of the way. Faced with a politically-pressured media environment in Hong Kong and the Herald newsroom that has declined from a once globally respected publication to a propaganda mouthpiece, James can only trust his own journalistic beliefs and dogged reporting to piece together the mystery and bring the story to life. Nonetheless, the answers he uncovers of the conspiracy are more sinister than he could have imagined.

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Elaine Chan and Lee Jeong-ho

Elaine Chan Elaine has been a journalist for more than two decades, covering Asia and China's phenomenal rise, writing for the likes of South China Morning Post, Bloomberg News and the Associated Press. She began her journalism career in Hong Kong, arriving in the city the same day as the last British governor of the then colonial city. In the year that Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule, she relocated to Shanghai to work for Knight-Ridder Financial and Bloomberg, serving as the latter’s first Asian bureau chief. While growing up in her native Singapore, she trained in Western art and painting, but realising she’d never be a Van Gogh decided to pursue journalism to write stories that would help the underdogs and right some of society’s wrongs. In 2009, Elaine moved into public relations, specialising in M&A and capital market transaction communications, working on some of the region’s biggest cross-border deals. But she returned to her bigger passion – journalism, which she believes is the society’s conscience – in 2017, and is currently a senior editor at the South China Morning Post. Keeping a sense of adventure and humour is what keeps her going. She continues to paint occasionally, and harbours hope of one day hosting a mini exhibition of her works. Elaine has an MA in Social Science. Lee Jeong-ho Jeong-ho has been a journalist covering Asia and China for South China Morning Post, and News1 Korea. He believes media exists for the progression of democracy, to empower individual citizens of democratic ideals via the spreading of information. Media that fails to serve this purpose becomes an institution for propaganda, he believes. Jeong-ho grew up in South Korea and Australia. He had also worked as an officer for the South Korean Air Force, before he became a journalist - preparing analytical reports and papers on sensitive and high-profile matters of concern to North Korean politics and human rights issues. He solidified the value of democracy and the danger authoritarianism during his service, and decided to pursue journalism to protect democratic ideals and freedom of individuals. He is a PhD student in politics at King’s College London. He has a master's degree of international studies in Chinese area studies from Seoul National University, and a bachelor's degree in media and communications and Chinese studies from Sydney University.