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Visit our new Members’ Area in our FCC Website!

    
      
Dear Members,
     
Since the launch of our newly developed FCC Website www.fcchk.org early this year, the site is now faster loading, more secure and has a mobile version to cater for accessing everything on the site via all smartphones and tablet devices. The website's new features include a scrolling social media feed and easier-to-find archives of our speaker events. It also provides easily accessible and searchable news about the Club, our press freedom statements, and notices about our upcoming luncheon talks and our food and beverage promotions.
    
Now we are delighted to announce that the Members' Area is ready. It enables members to check their account statements and manage their own account. The online booking function and the E-Shop is still being tested and will be released soon, so stay tuned. 
    
To use the Members' Area, you will first need a one-time registration. An introduction on ‘How to register the members’ area’ is attached here. If you have any questions on how to register, feel free to contact the Concierge team at 2521 1511 or [email protected] on weekdays from 0900 to 2100.
    
The unveiling of this site is a culmination of months of work from the tireless staff along with the Board. We are proud of all their contributions and we thank everyone for their efforts. 
    
Let me know what you think — I'll see you at the Main Bar.
    
Cheers,
    
Keith Richburg
President
     
24 September 2021

Remembering Jonathan Mirsky

By Stephen Vines

Jonathan Mirsky was never a conventional journalist, nor conventional anything else. He died in London in September at the age of 88. 

For many years he was among the best known China watchers in the hacking business and won the British Press Awards International Reporter of the Year title in 1989 for his Tiananmen massacre coverage in The Observer

In Beijing he was “rewarded” with a savage beating at the hands of the police while covering the protests.

He later moved to The Times and was based in Hong Kong from 1993 to 1998. Towards the end, Mirsky fell out with the paper’s increasingly accommodating attitude towards Beijing ordered by owner Rupert Murdoch, who had big ambitions for expanding business in China.

Mirsky became a familiar figure at the FCC, where a lack of alcoholic consumption and an enthusiasm for discussion – not forgetting an impressive stock of Jewish jokes – marked him out as a not so run-of-the-mill member.

Mirsky, or Minsky as I called him after he was mistakenly identified as such by aristocratic Times Editor William Rees-Mogg, came to journalism through the circuitous route of academia and never quite lost his affection for the long form preferred in universities.

I got to know him back in the 1980s when we were both working for The Observer in London. He was an eccentric character in a newsroom where eccentricity was the norm. At the time I was engaged in the hard-edged area of labour reporting, while Mirsky was pontificating on China from afar. 

Infuriatingly to us hacks who thought that the only kind of reporting that mattered came from on-the-spot observation, he managed to produce superb and highly readable analysis which often outdid the work of Beijing-based correspondents.

When we were later both based in Hong Kong, we occasionally joined forces for interviews. It was an exasperating experience as Mirsky liked to be discursive and, with his genuine interest for people and what made them tick, would spend a great deal of time talking to the interviewees about their lives, while I was impatient to extract the news line of the day.

The Mirsky method often worked far better than the more conventional news-gathering approach, and he made firm friends with many of the people he interviewed. Among them were the Dalai Lama, who wrote to him shortly before his death, and Chris Patten, Hong Kong’s last Governor – a combination of friendships likely to confirm the worst misgivings of an ever-suspicious government in Beijing.

Mirsky came from an aggressively secular intellectual leftist New York Jewish family and quickly graduated towards left-wing politics both as a student and an academic. It was this leftism that led him to become one of the early visitors to China in 1972 when the regime was keen to cultivate fellow travellers.

It would however be inaccurate to describe Mirsky as an apologist for the regime, because a sharp eye for the reality of Mao’s China and an uncontainable independence of mind defied such a simple characterisation.

In later years, most especially after Tiananmen, he became a prominent critic and was banned from entering the PRC. To describe Mirsky as being somehow “anti-China” would be a gross misconception because he had a deep love of all things Chinese and almost certainly a deeper knowledge of China’s culture and history than many of the most avid “patriots” who flaunt their love of the nation these days.

Above all Jonathan Mirsky was a mensch. It’s a Yiddish term that covers everything from friendship to humour to kindness yet is still inadequate to convey the true nature of the man.

FCC Minimum Spend

      
Dear Members,
 
With the lifting of many of the restrictions which have limited FCC activities for so long, we have been delighted to welcome back more members to the Club's expanded offering of speaker events, film nights, musical events and our extensive F&B promotions. As a result of the Club being more accessible, the minimum spend requirement will now revert to being charged to Member's accounts on a quarterly basis and hence will be charged to Member's September accounts which will be sent in early October. We will continue to offer the opportunity for Members to purchase vouchers to be used in subsequent months if you are unable to utilise the Club before the end of September.
 
21 September 2021

HKJA Statement Responding to Security Secretary

The FCC has been following with concern remarks by the Secretary for Security regarding the Hong Kong Journalists Association, the city’s largest union for working journalists. The secretary’s remarks questioned the details of HKJA’s membership rolls. The HKJA has responded to the secretary’s remarks with the following statement, which the FCC is republishing. The FCC expresses its support for all working journalists during an increasingly challenging time in Hong Kong’s media environment:

In response to media enquiries about our membership and the Secretary for Security’s comments on Wednesday, the HKJA would like to make the following comments:

As of 15 September 2021 at 2pm, HKJA has 486 current members. They include 331 full members, 22 associate members, 34 public relations members, 56 student members, and 43 retired or permanent members. The numbers of our membership fluctuate as the Association processes new applications and renewals daily.

In response to media enquiries on the number of our members employed by specific media outlets, we would like to note that our members come from a large number of media organisations. Each individual membership lasts one year and members are required to renew their membership by the end of the year. If the media outlet where a member works has closed down, or if the member has left the media industry, they will not be able to renew their membership. The details on membership eligibility are available on our website’s membership application section, and are stated in our charter.

Meanwhile, Secretary for Security Chris Tang today said HKJA may “assuage the public’s doubts” by publishing our membership list “without disclosing personal information.” We are baffled by the Secretary’s apparently illogical suggestion. HKJA hopes the Secretary could understand that our members’ employment is part of their personal information. We are therefore unable to decipher how we could possibly make public the media outlets where our members are employed, without also disclosing their personal data at the same time.

We would like to reiterate that under the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance, HKJA may not disclose members’ personal data without their expressed consent. Any suggestion to make our membership and their employers public in order to “assuage doubts” would appear to incite a breach of the Ordinance.

Hong Kong Journalists Association
15 September 2021

就傳媒查詢有關本會會員事務,及保安局局長的言論,本會有回覆如下:

截至2021年9月15日下午2時,本會有效會員共有486人,其中包括正式會員331人、附屬會員22人、公關會員34人,學生會員56人,另有退休會員及永久會員共43人。而本會每日均會處理續會、入會申請的事務,會員人數會不時變更,敬希注意。

就有傳媒查詢,個別傳媒機構在本會內的會員人數,本會會員來自多間傳媒機構,會籍有效期為一年,會員需要每年續會。如會員所任職的傳媒機構已經停業、或會員已經離開傳媒行業,則不能續會。有關本會的會員資格,可參閱本會網頁的會員申請須知及會章。

另外,就保安局局長鄧炳強今日表示,本會可在「撇除個人資料」下公布會員名單,以「釋除疑慮」。本會認為鄧炳強的建議邏輯混亂,令人百思不得其解。本會希望局長明白,會員所任職的傳媒機構,亦為其「個人資料」一部分,本會實在無法推敲出,如何在「撇除個人資料」下,公布會員「來自乜嘢媒體」。

本會亦在此重申,根據《個人資料(私隱)條例》規定,未經當事人同意,本會不能披露會員個人資料。若要求本會應公開會員名單或其所屬機構「以釋公眾疑慮」,實在有鼓吹本會違反《私隱條例》之嫌。

香港記者協會
2021年9月15日

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