Members Area

RSF: Beijing’s ‘national security’ measures threaten Hong Kong’s journalists

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has issued a statement denouncing Beijing’s decision to impose “national security” measures on Hong Kong, saying that it will endanger journalists and press freedom in the special administrative region, which is supposed to be autonomous until 2047.

You can read the full statement here.

HKJA and HKPPA ‘disappointed’ with Hong Kong Police chief after meeting

The Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) and the Hong Kong Press Photographers Association (HKPPA) are “disappointed” by Commissioner of Police Chris Tang Ping-keung’s failure to pledge to stop using violence against journalists covering the protests.

Following a meeting on May 25, the two groups said they welcomed an apology from Commissioner Tang for his officers’ misconduct against reporters on Shantung Street in Mong Kok on May 10. 

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong is in the process of setting up a meeting with representatives of the Hong Kong Police Force to discuss, among other things, the club’s opposition to any effort to set up a licensing or accreditation system for the media in Hong Kong. Such a system would be considered a serious erosion of press freedoms guaranteed here. 

You can read the joint HKJA and HKPPA statement here.

IPI expresses grave concern over secrecy around proposed Hong Kong security bill

It is feared that the national security law proposed by China will stifle press freedom and cripple independent media in Hong Kong, the International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists, said.

The National People’s Congress of China is meeting in Beijing this week and is expected to pass a controversial new law, aimed at banning activities in Hong Kong that would amount to sedition, secession and subversion.

“The secrecy surrounding the bill has prevented any public discussion about legal changes expected to severely affect the rights of people in Hong Kong and undermine the “one country, two systems” principle, sparking off fears that the government could use the proposed law to silence critical voices”, IPI Executive Director Barbara Trionfi said. “There are also concerns that China might use it to expel foreign journalists covering the mainland from Hong Kong.”

China has aggressively tried to increase its control over independent media in Hong Kong. In 2017, journalists had voiced concerns over the deteriorating state of press freedom in the region, the increasing influence of the mainland through ownership of traditional media outlets, and an increase in self-censorship and attacks on journalists.

The move to enact the new law comes after the administration of Hong Kong failed to implement a controversial extradition bill last year that had sparked off violent protests. The bill, which provided for extradition of criminal suspects to be extradited to the mainland, was introduced by the Hong Kong Administration in April 2019, and withdrawn in October, as hundreds of thousands took to streets in protest.

As the protests against the extradition bill spiralled into a pro-democracy movement, journalists became a target of the police, and several of them were injured, including one who was splashed with corrosive liquid and another who was permanently blinded in one eye after being hit in the face by a police projectile.

On February 18 this year, China expelled three journalists of The Wall Street Journal in response to an opinion piece published in the newspaper and written by an outside commentator. China’s authorities described the article as “racist” and said that it “denigrated” the country’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 outbreak. The Chinese foreign ministry said WSJ had refused to apologise for the article.

A month later, journalists working for The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal were asked to leave the country. A statement issued by the Chinese foreign ministry said that the decision to expel journalists with U.S. citizenship working for these publications was in response to the U.S. government’s “outrageous” decision in December 2018 to designate Chinese media outlets as foreign missions and in February this year to impose a limit on the number of employees at these outlets.

 

FCC statement on meeting with press groups and Hong Kong Police Force

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong welcomes the meeting on Thursday between local press associations and representatives of the Hong Kong Police Force, and hopes it improves working conditions on the ground for journalists.

The FCC had sent a letter to Commissioner of Police, Chris Tang Ping-keung, asking to be included in this meeting, whose participants included the Hong Kong Journalists Association, the Hong Kong Press Photographers Association, the Hong Kong News Executives Association and the Hong Kong Federation of Journalists. The Hong Kong Police Force responded that it would prefer to meet with the FCC separately, given language differences and the unique concerns of foreign correspondents working in Hong Kong. The FCC has followed up with the Hong Kong Police Force on this offer and is working to arrange this meeting.

A delegation from the FCC Board of Governors met on Oct. 10 with representatives of the Hong Kong Police Force to discuss a number of issues of concern to our membership including police violence against journalists covering the protests last year, efforts to hinder journalists’ access to police actions on the ground and interference with press coverage of the unrest. The meeting was constructive and we agreed to continue to have a dialogue on this pressing issues.

Meanwhile, the FCC is in touch with local journalists’ organisations, and has held meetings to discuss how we can work together at this pivotal time for press freedom in Hong Kong. The FCC opposes any effort by the Hong Kong police or the Hong Kong government to establish a licensing or accreditation system for the media in Hong Kong as that would be what we consider a serious erosion of press freedoms guaranteed here. The FCC will follow up with the police and the press groups involved after their meeting to better understand the nature of the discussions.

FCC Board 2020/2021 election results

Congratulations to the new FCC Board of Governors for 2020/2021. They will start serving after the May 28 AGM.

We’d like to thank the outgoing Board members for their service.

The new Board members are listed below.

PRESIDENT Jodi Schneider
FIRST VICE PRESIDENT Eric Wishart
SECOND VICE PRESIDENT Tim Huxley
CORRESPONDENT GOVERNORS Katie Forster
Jennifer Hughes
Tripti Lahiri
Shibani Mahtani
Keith Richburg
Kristine Servando
Kristie Lu Stout
Dan Strumpf
JOURNALIST GOVERNORS Clifford Buddle
Adam White
ASSOCIATE GOVERNORS Genavieve Alexander
Andy Chworowsky
Liu Kin-ming
Christopher Slaughter

Election for The Board of Governors 2020-21 Result

Chris Patten: Hong Kong protesters shouldn’t lose heart

Lord Chris Patten, Hong Kong’s last governor, urged the city’s protesters not to lose heart but to continue their fight with dignity.

Chris Patten, the last governor of Hong Kong, talks during an FCC webinar on May 20, 2020. Chris Patten, the last governor of Hong Kong, talks during an FCC webinar on May 20, 2020.

The former chairman of Britain’s Conservative Party was speaking during an FCC webinar on the future of Hong Kong where he answered a wide variety of questions from members. On the question of the future of Hong Kong’s protest movement, Patten said:  “They shouldn’t lose heart. They shouldn’t lose their sense of dignity and decency and moderation.”

Patten took the guest seat in the webinar the week after a report from the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) cleared its force of misconduct during last year’s anti-government protests.

Patten said the report “divides the community even more” and described it as “a blow to the hopes we all had to return to normality”.

“And normality is a situation in which people can express their views if they choose to do so and not be run off the streets,” he added

On the recent arrests of leading pro-democracy figures on charges of involvement in unlawful assemblies, Patten described the move as “an attempt to intimidate the rest of Hong Kong”.

On the COVID-19 outbreak, Patten praised Hong Kong and Taiwan for their response to the epidemic, saying that Hong Kong “dealt with it brilliantly”. He added that freedom of the press in the city had given residents the information they needed to act quickly. Patten was critical of the Chinese government for quashing the voices of whistleblower doctors in the early stages of the epidemic, but added that the Chinese people “behaved heroically” in their response to the crisis.

Following the event, Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong issued a statement in which it accused Patten of “distorting the one country, two systems principle” and tarnishing China’s international image.

LIAISON OFFICE IN HONG KONG

One Country, two systems means what it says. It does mean that Hong Kong has a high degree of autonomy and that’s one reason why people have continued to invest in Hong Kong. It’s one reason why it’s responsible for, I guess, two thirds, maybe more, of mediated direct investment in and out of mainland China. So I don’t think one should spend too much time questioning whether what was done by the joint liaison office and the Hong Kong Macau affairs office was in breach of the joint declaration – of course it was. It’s a breach of the promises to Hong Kong people about local autonomy.

PRO-DEMOCRACY ARRESTS

The arrest of 15 well-known democratic leaders for doing what I think in one case 1.7 million people or more had done. Nobody accuses them of violence but they took part in demonstrations which as I say were attended by 1.7 million people. Now I read what the UN Human Rights observer has said about that and I totally agree with it. It’s pretty outrageous  and we all know what it’s an attempt to do. It’s an attempt to intimidate the rest of Hong Kong. The idea that President Xi Jinping should be terrified of Margaret Ng is really pretty incredible.

LEGCO

Even in the last few years when people have disagreed strongly about things, there’s been a general recognition, as I understand it, that the chairmanships and deputy chairmanships of the committee would be shared out across the chamber, and I think it’s a thoroughly bad thing that that has gone.

IPCC REPORT

Back in June last year, I said that one way of ending the demonstrations and bringing calm back to the city would be to establish an independent inquiry transparent under judicial powers to look at what had happened. And I think with much more legal argument behind it, Andrew Lee, the former chief justice, argued for the same without making any political points about it. Now it just happens to be a subject about which I know a bit because after the Good Friday agreement in Northern I Ireland I was tasked to chair the committee which reorganised policing. It was a Labour government that appointed me, I came from the Conservative Party. I had a group of international experts, I had a group from both sides of the Catholic and Protestant communities and we did it transparently and openly and we produced a report which the whole community could accept. We had I think 20…30…40 public meetings with huge crowds at them and it turned into a sort of reconciliation commission. That’s the point of these things. To finish up with an IPCC report which just divides the community even more really is a blow to the hopes we all had of a return to normality in Hong Kong. And normality is a situation in which people can express their views if they choose to do so and not be run off the streets.

ONE COUNTRY TWO SYSTEMS

I think there’s been a significant change in China – in Beijing – since Xi Jinping became president or dictator for life complete with a personality cult which is extraordinary. Ten to 12 years after 1997 things went pretty well, not perfectly. The promises of giving Hong Kong greater accountability, more opportunities for developing democratic institutions – a promise which was explicitly made before 1997 and afterwards both by Liu Ping, the director then of the Hong Kong Macau affairs office, and by the Foreign Ministry in Beijing – those promises were rowed back on. But by and large Hong Kong was allowed to get on with its own life and people’s determination to have the Rule of Law, to have all the freedoms you associate with Hong Kong’s success. By and large that wasn’t interfered with but just as Xi Jinping came in and dissidents were rounded up, they were tougher on human rights. I think it’s also true that Xi Jinping saw that liberal democracy, as he would define it, as an existential threat to what he wanted to do. There was an instruction to government and party officials sent out in 2013 which said that all these things like teaching history openly, like the Rule of Law, like giving people greater accountability, like developing civil society… all these things are a threat to the Communist Party so we must attack them. And it became public because a very brave woman in her 70s called Gao Yu leaked this, and it’s all there, including the stuff about patriotic education. so I think that the sad point is that in the last few years, Xi Jinping and his court have regarded Hong Kong and Hong Kong’s freedoms as an existential problem for them because Hong Kong represents so much of what they dislike.

FCC Update on Tighter Restrictions Starting July 15

FCC Update on Tighter Restrictions Starting July 15

 

Dear Members:

 

As the Hong Kong government imposes further restrictions from July 15-July 21 to address a rise in coronavirus cases in the city, the FCC will be required to make some additional changes starting on Wednesday morning, July 15. The club will remain open yet with the following restrictions:

 

  • All restaurants and bars will close at 6 p.m. every day. There will be no beverage or food service after 6 p.m. except for take-away service.

 

  • The club will offer a special takeaway menu until 8:30 p.m.

 

  • No more than four people will be allowed at tables in the outlets or at groups around the bars.

 

  • All outlets will be reduced to 50% capacity so please book ahead for lunch, which is expected will be a busy time.

 

  • No in-person events or live performances will be held at this time. The staff will contact those with current event bookings in this period — including for Quiz Night and Hawaiian Night — to confirm the cancellation. The virtual Zoom events on July 15 and July 20 will proceed.

 

  • The gym will be closed.

 

The FCC will continue to restrict guests to three per member at all times.

 

In keeping with the government requirements and best practices, especially with an uptick in coronavirus cases, all members, guests and staff must wear face masks except when eating or drinking. Hand sanitizer must be used by all. The FCC will strictly continue the check-in, temperature-taking and declaration measures upon entry to the club, as well as the frequent cleaning protocols throughout the building.

 

The staff will continue to take future bookings for banquets and we hope to again plan in-person club events once the restrictions lift.

 

Thank you for your continued support of the FCC.

 

14 July 2020

 

 

 

FCC Restrictions Extended

FCC Restrictions Extended

 

Dear Members:

The Hong Kong government has extended the anti-virus related restrictions for another week through August 25. The club will continue with the following:

All restaurants and bars will close at 6 p.m. every day. There will be no food and beverage service after 6 p.m. except for take-away service.
   
The takeaway menu will be available from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., though last orders must be made by 8:30 p.m. The menu can be downloaded from our website at fcchk.org. Please place orders with the FCC Restaurant at 2844 2806 or [email protected]. All orders will be confirmed by a phone call.
   
Given the spacing requirements, the FCC will restrict guests to one per member at all times. No more than two people will be allowed at tables in all outlets.
   
All outlets are reduced to 50% capacity. Please book ahead for lunch.
   
No in-person events or live performances will be held at this time. Virtual events via Zoom will continue.
   
The gym will remain closed yet the workroom will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
   

In keeping with the government requirements and best practices, especially with an uptick in coronavirus cases, all members, guests and staff must wear face masks except when eating or drinking. Hand sanitizer must be used by all. The FCC will strictly continue the check-in, temperature-taking and declaration measures upon entry to the club, as well as the frequent cleaning protocols throughout the building.

The staff will continue to take future bookings for banquets and we hope to again plan in-person club events once the restrictions lift.

Thank you for your continued support of the FCC.

18 August 2020

    

 

 

AAJA-Asia issues statement on shutdown of ABS-CBN by Philippine Government

The Asian American Journalists Association’s Asia Chapter (AAJA-Asia) released this statement on May 8. 

The Asian American Journalists Association’s Asia Chapter (AAJA-Asia) strongly condemns the Philippine government’s shutdown of ABS-CBN, the country’s largest broadcaster. The Philippine National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) — a government regulatory agency under the office of the president — issued a  “cease and desist” order against the popular news outlet on May 5.

Read the full statement here.

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