Looking back on 2020, it was a year that posed numerous challenges for The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong, not least of which was a limited ability to host in-person events. But, like the rest of the world, we adapted to the new normal and found a way to get on with things.
At the FCC, that meant taking our events virtual by turning to Zoom as a way to host guest speakers and panelists including Noam Chomsky, Jiayang Fan, Maria Ressa, John Bolton, Garry Kasparov and many others. While Zoom allowed us to continue planning speaker events in times when social distancing measures prevented them from taking place at the club, it also allowed us to transcend time zones and welcome speakers located all over the world. As a result, you can expect to see plenty more Zoom events happening in 2021.
But first, here’s a look back at the lineup of notable speakers we hosted on Zoom in 2020.
Our first Zoom event of the year featured Professor Ben Cowling, who joined us to discuss Hong Kong’s battle with COVID-19.
The pandemic and its effects on press freedom was the focus of this panel discussion featuring Maria Ressa, Hélène Franchineau and Mohammed Hanif.
Hong Kong’s last governor joined us to discuss the city’s future in the midst of sweeping changes and increased intervention from the Chinese government.
Professor Clifford Stott, a protest policing expert, explained why he resigned from an international panel appointed by Hong Kong’s police complaints body to investigate the policing of last year’s protests.
As the George Floyd protests swept across the United States, we invited Amelia Brace and Joel Simon to discuss the threats facing journalists covering the movement.
The Rappler CEO and press freedom advocate spoke alongside her international human rights lawyer about Ressa’s conviction in the Philippines on cyber libel charges.
The day after President Trump signed an executive order ending Hong Kong’s preferential trade treatment, former U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton said that Hong Kong still enjoyed broad support in the U.S. even as the city’s freedoms were being eroded.
Professor Jeffrey Sachs, an economist and author, warned that improving relations between the U.S. and China was crucial for maintaining global stability in the coming years.
The rise of disinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic was the focus of this panel discussion featuring Kristin Urquiza, Claire Wardel and Alice Budisatrijo.
The CEO of PEN America, a nonprofit organisation which defends free expression, spoke about how democracy and freedom are in decline around the world.
Renowned intellectual Noam Chomsky spoke about the potentially disastrous consequences of relations between the U.S. and China further deteriorating.
The author and Asia scholar said it would be a “huge mistake” for China to eradicate Hong Kong’s unique characteristics.
Relations between the U.S. and China was the topic of this panel discussion featuring Lingling Wei, Mary E. Gallagher and Bonnie Glaser, who agreed that a Biden presidency could improve the situation.
Author and journalist Stan Grant shared his experiences of racism growing up and discussed what the Black Lives Matters movement means to indigenous Australians.
The former chess world champion turned democracy campaigner said it would be wise for Hong Kong’s leading pro-democracy activists to leave the city to avoid facing prison or worse.
The former top U.S. military official claimed that Taiwan’s political status was the greatest threat to the already tense relationship between China and the U.S.
The host of CNN’s Reliable Sources warned that Fox News could cause “enormous damage” on election night in the United States.
The Nobel Prize winner and professor predicted that the U.S. and China would enjoy greater cooperation if Joe Biden were to win the presidential election.
The author of a biography of Indonesian president Joko Widodo said that Widodo’s “lack of leadership” had caused Indonesia’s struggle with containing COVID-19.
China’s influence on Hollywood was discussed by panelists James Tager, Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian and Rebecca Davis, who said that the greed of America’s film industry was leading to increased self-censorship in a bid to reach Chinese audiences.
The author and China scholar spoke at length about how “wolf warrior” diplomacy has hurt the PRC’s global reputation.
The Southeast Asia editor of The Diplomat said that the response to the coronavirus pandemic had accelerated a trend: the “image of both the United States and China are suffering in Southeast Asia.”
Weeks before the U.S. presidential elections, panelists Craig Silverman, Elyse Samuels and Thomas Kent agreed that election-related disinformation had reached an all-time high.
A staff writer at The New Yorker, Jiayang Fan spoke to us about her blockbuster cover story “How My Mother and I Became Chinese Propaganda.”
With winter on the horizon, we invited Dr. Sarah Borwein, Professor Ivan Hung and Professor John Nicholls to share their predictions for the future of the coronavirus pandemic in Hong Kong and around the world.
Shortly after the presidential election, the former U.S. consul general in Hong Kong spoke about what the world could expect from the Biden presidency.
Discussing the upcoming Biden administration’s approach to China, panelists Bonnie Glaser and Tom Orlik said it would be characterised by competition and cooperation.
The investigative reporter discussed her second book, The Scientist and the Spy, which recounts the story of a Chinese-born scientist who was caught trying to steal genetically modified corn seeds from a field in Iowa.
With RTHK coming under increasing criticism from the government, former BBC Director-General and New York Times Co. CEO Mark Thompson spoke about the challenges facing public broadcasters in Hong Kong and around the world.
An accomplished actor, writer and traveller, Monty Python star Michael Palin issued a full-throated defence of comedy’s importance as a form of free speech.
Amateur reporters can play as vital a role in news gathering as trained professionals and it is not up to governments or the police to decide who is a journalist, said former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger.
Post Date: December 30, 2020