Former Hong Kong Chief Executive C.Y. Leung warned that the consequences of the recent district council election results, which saw pro-democracy candidates take more than 80% of seats, “may be far greater than we imagine”.
The vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference used his November 28 appearance at the FCC to reflect on China’s rise since the founding of the Communist Party. He spoke at length about the current unrest in Hong Kong, in particular highlighting what he saw as the foreign interference in the city’s politics. Leung, who was Hong Kong’s third Chief Executive, also accused Western politicians of misunderstanding the Basic Law – the city’s mini-constitution – and advised them to study it.
Referring to protesters’ calls for universal suffrage, Leung said Hong Kong was not a country, comparing it instead to a city like London which has a mayor who answers to the central government.
Watch the talk here
Democracy has been in decline globally in recent years, exacerbated by the arrival of digital technology, the emergence of demagogues, the rise of assertive autocratic states, and a failure in too many places of democracy to deliver tangible results.
This was the message delivered by Derek Mitchell, president of the National Democratic Institute, and former U.S. Ambassador to Myanmar, when he discussed reinvigorating democracy around the world at the November 26 club lunch.
He began by congratulating Hongkongers for having their voices heard in the recent district elections, which saw a landslide victory for the pro-democracy camp. Ambassador Mitchell also discussed the rise of authoritarianism.
Watch the talk here
In recent years, the Board has identified a need to reform and update the way in which the Club handles disciplinary complaints. The idea is to put in place a new system which improves on the existing arrangements, ensuring that the disciplinary process is fair, principled, objective and efficient. This will involve amendments to the Club’s Articles of Association.
The last Board voted to modernize our disciplinary process in 2019/2020 so that complaints can be handled in a more expeditious and proportionate manner. This initiative was highlighted at the Annual General Meeting in May.
Members are invited to a Q&A session in Bert’s at 6:30pm on November 25, where the proposals will be explained. This event had been scheduled for November 11 yet was postponed. We look forward to seeing you in Bert’s.
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong condemns the efforts by police officers to obstruct press coverage of protests over the weekend, particularly during a tense and violent standoff at Polytechnic University.
The FCC considers this a serious breach of press freedom and the right of the media under Hong Kong law to cover the protests free of intimidation or violence.
First-hand reports from journalists covering the standoff between police and anti-government protesters and students at PolyU relayed accounts of journalists being barred from free entry and exit. Some journalists were searched and asked for their identification as they left, amid police warnings that they could be arrested if they didn’t provide a valid press ID.
In other instances, journalists were barred from entering the university and told if they entered they would be subject to riot charges. In one case, three student reporters from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology tried to leave the campus grounds through an exit suggested by the police and were instructed not to leave or they would risk being fired upon.
The FCC also calls on the police to conduct a thorough investigation of a police officer who allegedly targeted a journalist in Mong Kok this weekend with a sponge grenade. Police said the officer was put on leave and that they are investigating the incident.
We again call for an independent investigation into police violence against journalists and any interference with the media’s right under Hong Kong law to cover the unrest. The FCC urges that any investigation should be transparent.
Nov. 18, 2019
China won’t become more liberal anytime soon because its people are satisfied with the way the Chinese Communist Party has lifted many out of poverty, according to a China expert.
Jean-Pierre Cabestan, Professor in Political Science at Hong Kong Baptist University, told the November 14 club lunch that the Chinese government had support from all sections of society, including its billionaire entrepreneurs.
The party is stronger than ever, he said, in part due to the introduction of the social credit system, which monitors citizens, and the restriction of internet access. Its efficient quashing of dissent means its people do not stand up to the one-party system.
Watch the video here
So you’ve written your first novel and it’s won widespread plaudits – what next?
Write a second book, of course – but that’s easier said than done, as novelist Mohammed Hanif discovered when he found himself in exactly that position.
The Pakistani journalist and writer is now working on a fourth book following the success of A Case of Exploding Mangoes (2008), Our Lady of Alice Bhatti (2011), and Red Birds (2018). He shared writing tips at the November 13 club lunch and discussed the issues facing his homeland.
Watch the video here
Michael Rutter and Peter Hickman, two of motorcycle road racing’s most successful riders, revealed the ups and downs of the sport when they appeared at the FCC ahead of the 2019 Macau Grand Prix.
The pair, who between them have dominated their field for the last two decades, talked about how they got into the white-knuckle sport, what they’re thinking about while hitting speeds in excess of 200mph, and the future of electric motorcycle racing.
You can watch this November 12 club lunch below.
Q&A Session on Proposed Reforms to Disciplinary Process Postponed
The Q&A session on proposed changes to the club’s disciplinary process scheduled for 6:30 p.m. tonight, Monday November 11, has been postponed. It will be rescheduled for Monday November 25 at 6:30 p.m. in Bert’s.
The FCC will operate with limited service today, with only bar and lounge service. The Dining Room and Verandah will be closed.
Matt Murray, Editor in Chief of The Wall Street Journal, talked about the newspaper’s big scoops and the future of journalism when he appeared at the club on November 6.
Watch the video.