Unsurprisingly, some of our events have gained a lot of traction on YouTube. These are the most popular ones that took place in 2021.
#1: Eric X. Li
Views: 143,985 and counting
#2: Marianna Spring
Views: 2,112 and counting
#3: Barkha Dutt and Rana Ayyub
Views: 2,065 and counting
#4: Regina Ip
Views: 1,641 and counting
#5: Fareed Zakaria
Views: 1,285 and counting
#6 (tie): Henry Litton
Views: 1,211 and counting
#6 (tie): Hans van de Ven
Views: 1,211 and counting
#8: Cheng Huan
Views: 1,176 and counting
#9: Fuchsia Dunlop
Views: 1,034 and counting
#10: Dr. Li Shan
Views: 910 and counting
2021 in Review: The Year in FCC Zoom Events
For the second year in a row, the FCC wasn’t able to host as many in-person events featuring guest speakers as we normally would due to the ongoing pandemic. Fortunately, we made up for it with our ongoing series of Zoom events featuring notable guests from around the globe, including diplomats, authors, judges, and journalists such as Bob Woodward, Fareed Zakaria and Evan Osnos.
In total, we hosted more than three dozen Zoom events this year, so scroll down to see the lineup and watch videos of those you may have missed.
February 9: ‘Social Media Bans’ Panel
Freedom of expression has its limits when it comes to spreading falsehoods and promoting real-world violence, a panel of experts including Maria Ressa, Craig Silverman and Alejandro Reyes said during this Zoom event.
February 22: ‘Myanmar on the Edge’ Panel
In a pre-dawn operation on February 1, Myanmar’s military moved to take control of the government, detaining civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other elected officials in a coup. In the aftermath, the FCC hosted a discussion on Myanmar with Ai Fowle, Manny Maung and Wai Wai Nu.
During Donald Trump’s tumultuous presidency, legendary investigative journalist and author Bob Woodward produced two best-selling books that pulled back the curtain on the often chaotic inner workings of the administration. The FCC invited Woodward to discuss his reporting process, the final days of the Trump presidency and much more.
February 26: Dr. Li Shan
In his first public remarks since the formation of the Bauhinia Party in March 2020, party chairman Li Shan said he wanted the new political party to bridge Hong Kong’s blue-yellow divide to solve the city’s pressing social problems.
March 4: Esther Chan
Governments and journalists both have a role to play in combating the spread of COVID-19 vaccine-related misinformation, First Draft APAC Bureau Editor Esther Chan said In a virtual workshop hosted by the FCC.
March 8: Carmela Fonbuena
“If we don’t fact-check information that’s spreading on the ground, that’s what people will believe if no one corrects it,” journalist Carmela Fonbuena said while discussing her latest book, Marawi Siege: Stories From the Front Lines.
March 9: Elizabeth Becker
Three pioneering women correspondents — Frances FitzGerald, Catherine Leroy and Kate Webb — changed the nature of modern war reporting and even the course of history with their coverage of the Vietnam War, Elizabeth Becker said in this FCC book event.
March 16: Fuchsia Dunlop
English food writer and cookbook author Fuchsia Dunlop, an expert in Sichuan cuisine, recognised the importance of calling out cultural appropriation but also highlighted the benefits of intercultural exchange during a Zoom webinar hosted by the FCC. “I don’t think the solution is that you should be confined to the food from your own heritage,” Dunlop said.
March 18: Bay Fang
Publicly-funded news organisations require firm protections from political influence in order to maintain editorial independence and avoid becoming propaganda units, said Bay Fang, president of Radio Free Asia, in a Zoom webinar hosted by the FCC.
March 23: Te-Ping Chen
Journalism and fiction are, by definition, opposite forms of writing, but as writer Te-Ping Chen explained in a book talk hosted by the FCC, the two aren’t as different as you might think. “In some ways, [writing] fiction and journalism is a similar process in as much as you are taking the material at hand,” Chen said, “except with fiction, the material at hand you can just draw from, in so many ways, a deeper universe around you.”
March 24: ‘Asian Hate in America’ Panel
The mass shooting in Atlanta that took the lives of six women of Asian descent is another tragic event in the United States’ long history of anti-Asian violence and discrimination, three Asian American women writers and journalists — Eileen Cheng-yin Chow, Jiayang Fan and Michelle He Yee Lee – said in a panel hosted by the FCC.
March 26: Sarah Frier
Instagram is typically thought of as a lighthearted platform for posting food photos and looking at your friends’ vacations snaps, but as Bloomberg journalist Sarah Frier, author of No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram, explained in an FCC Zoom talk, it’s also rife with misinformation and illegal activity.
March 29: ‘Belt and Road at a Crossroads’ Panel
Nearly eight years after it was first announced, the Belt and Road Initiative has a mixed record of successes and failures, but the panelists who participated in a discussion hosted by the FCC said that greater transparency from China and better decision-making from its partner countries were both necessary for the BRI to move forward in a positive direction.
April 7: Christopher Robert Hill
The United States needs to be proactive in finding ways to communicate and collaborate more closely with China rather than pursuing a policy of decoupling, said Ambassador Christopher Robert Hill, a former career diplomat, in a talk hosted by the FCC.
April 8: Marianna Spring
Description goes here.Misinformation and conspiracy theories may be considered problems that primarily affect social media and online discourse, but as BBC specialist disinformation reporter Marianna Spring explained in a Zoom talk hosted by the FCC, the negative consequences of viral falsehoods spill over into real life all too often.
April 13: Fareed Zakaria
The relationship between the United States and China is set to define the global order for decades to come, and both countries will emerge strongly from the COVID-19 pandemic in different ways, said journalist and author Fareed Zakaria in a Zoom webinar hosted by the FCC.
On World Press Freedom Day, an FCC Hong Kong panel of speakers representing press clubs across Southeast Asia painted a dire portrait of press freedom in the region as various governments have vilified, attacked and even arrested journalists throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
May 11: Barkha Dutt and Rana Ayyub
Local and independent reporters have played an essential and often high-risk role in revealing the true scale of India’s COVID-19 catastrophe while many in the mainstream media have preferred to parrot the government’s narrative, journalists Barkha Dhutt and Rana Ayyub said in an FCC webinar.
May 14: Henry Litton
Hong Kong’s judiciary has lost its former efficacy and judges need to focus on remedies and practical issues rather than esoteric arguments, said Henry Litton, former judge of the Court of Final Appeal, in an FCC webinar.
May 18: Fongyee Walker
Offering a fascinating look at the inner workings of the Chinese winemaking industry, Master of Wine Fongyee Walker highlighted the many business challenges facing producers during a Zoom talk. “There are people making terrific wine, but who do you sell it to?” said Walker. “You’re trying to sell a premium product to a market that almost doesn’t exist — it’s a huge challenge.”
May 31: Bill Bartles and Michael Smith
In September 2020, deteriorating relations between Australia and China led to a five-day diplomatic standoff during which the two remaining foreign correspondents employed by Australian media, Bill Birtles and Michael Smith, were evacuated from the PRC. In a Zoom event, the two journalists shared their accounts of the days leading up to their escape.
June 2: Ivan Hung
In a Zoom presentation, Professor Ivan Hung of the University of Hong Kong offered an in-depth update on the status of the global pandemic, covering topics including vaccinations, viral variants and asymptomatic transmissions.
June 24: Brian Stelter
On the day that Apple Daily published its last edition following 26 years of operation, CNN’s Brian Stelter said in a webinar that journalistic solidarity is needed in challenging moments such as these. “Nothing unites journalists more than a threat against a newspaper or a publication or against journalism itself,” Stelter said. “Nothing unites this industry more than a moment like this.”
June 29: Eric X. Li
China’s income disparity and environmental degradation are the biggest challenges currently facing the ruling Chinese Communist Party at the 100th anniversary of its founding, said Shanghai-based venture capitalist and political scientist Eric X. Li, who vigorously defended the party’s style of government while expressing doubts about liberal democracies around the world.
July 7: Hans van de Ven
As the Chinese Communist Party celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding, Professor Hans van de Ven acknowledged the party’s success in a Zoom talk, but he also said that its history over the past century was never written in stone.
July 22: Marty Baron
The proliferation of online disinformation sites purporting to be legitimate news has created an incredibly difficult and hostile environment for journalism, said Marty Baron, former executive editor of The Washington Post, in a discussion moderated by FCC President Keith Richburg.
July 26: Antonio T. Carpio
Tensions and territorial disputes in the South China Sea are unlikely to result in warfare because of the Philippines’ mutual defence treaty with the United States, said former Philippine Supreme Court Justice Antonio T. Carpio.
August 24: ‘COVID-19’s Lasting Impact on India’ Panel
Bloomberg correspondent and FCC Correspondent Governor Iain Marlow moderated an insightful discussion on India’s handling of the first and second waves of the COVID-19 pandemic with a panel of revered experts of global health, public policy and economics.
China’s active approach to governing social welfare goals in the age of big tech has become a widely known attribute of the CCP’s modus operandi in recent years. However, according to a panel of experts, this starkly contrasting approach to regulation in the West poses a myriad of uncertainties for some of its largest companies looking to raise capital in U.S. equity markets.
September 23: Peter Martin
China’s so-called ‘Wolf Warrior’ diplomacy is not a new phenomenon but it has taken on a new dimension over the course of the pandemic, said Bloomberg reporter Peter Martin in a Zoom talk. “Some of China’s strengths have been highlighted; its ability to use its supply chains to produce massive amounts of vaccine and personal protective equipment, and to ship those around the world, kind of plays to a strength of the Chinese system,” Martin said.
October 19: Joanna Chiu
The author of China Unbound: A New World Disorder, which details China’s rapid international rise and the ways Western nations have contributed to a state of global disorder, Chiu explained how her reporting revealed “paranoid rhetoric” and a tendency of United Front effort to focus on individuals and “no-names” who don’t pose a meaningful threat to the CCP.
October 21: ‘Startups and Substack’ Panel
COVID-19 has caused widespread tragedy and turmoil, but a panel of journalists and media experts said that there have been upsides for journalists and newsrooms in the midst of the pandemic.
Technology has changed the way journalism is produced and distributed, but Reuters executive editor Gina Chua argued in favor of greater changes for the news business in a Zoom event hosted by the FCC. “What we do today is essentially the same thing we did 50 years ago,” Chua said.
Remembering Carlos Tejada: Deputy Asia Editor for The New York Times
By Austin Ramzy and Dan Strumpf
Carlos Tejada, an editor for The New York Times who mentored generations of journalists in Asia and helped guide coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic and China’s oppression of ethnic minorities, died of a heart attack on 18 December 2021 in Seoul. He was 49.
Tejada became the Times’ deputy Asia editor in 2020 and helped lead the transfer of much of the paper’s Asia operations from Hong Kong to Seoul last year. He previously served as Asia news editor, China news editor and deputy Hong Kong bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal.
Colleagues at both newspapers remember him as a gifted editor who elevated stories with seeming ease and faced the burdens of the job with joy and humour. He held reporters to high standards, coaxing out their best work through both scrutiny and compassion. He made long sentences short and vague ideas clear.
Yuan Li, a business columnist for the Times who also worked with the late editor at the Journal, said Tejada was always willing to help Chinese journalists like herself who wanted to write in English.
“In our 17 years of working together at the Journal then at the Times, he had never laughed at my English,” she says. “As my editor, he just patiently corrected the numerous grammatical mistakes I made, made my sentences comprehensible and my columns shine.”
Josh Chin, deputy China bureau chief at the Journal and a longtime colleague of Tejada, said he was “like a Jedi master of newspaper editing.”
“He could always mind-trick you into doing a story his way, which was usually the right way,” Chin says. “He constantly devoted energy to reporters and their stories in a way that seems unfathomable, and that can only be explained by the fact that he believed with so much infectious conviction in the goodness and value of old-school journalism done properly.”
Tejada also helped nurture young reporters and editors outside his own newsrooms. “The best stories are about conflict,” or where “the stated intent or purpose goes horribly awry,” he told a writing seminar at the FCC’s journalism conference in 2017.
He edited early stories on China’s response to the coronavirus pandemic cited in the Times’ 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. In addition, he contributed to coverage of Beijing’s crackdown on predominately Muslim minority groups that was a Pulitzer finalist in 2020.
After the Times decided to move much of its editing operations in Asia from Hong Kong due to difficulty obtaining visas and the uncertainty created by the National Security Law, Tejada helped spearhead the establishment of a new regional hub in Seoul last year.
Tejada grew up in Arizona, the son of an immigrant from El Salvador and an English teacher from New Hampshire (his parents met when his father took his mother’s ESL class). The family lived for a time in a salvaged mobile home.
“There were javelina [a pig-like hooved animal] in the creosote [a desert shrub] and scorpions in the kitchen sink, but no telephones and no neighbours,” he said of that point in his childhood. “It was more fun than it sounds.”
He joined the Wall Street Journal as a spot news reporter in Dallas, Texas, before moving to New York to work as an editor.
He served as the Journal’s deputy bureau chief and Asia news editor in Hong Kong, then moved in 2011 to Beijing, where he was the paper’s China news editor. He returned to Hong Kong in 2016 when he became the Times’ Asia business editor.
Tejada met his wife, Nora, at the University of Kansas, where he studied journalism. They had a son, Marco, and a daughter, Gianna.
2021 in Review: Looking Back at Our Guest Speaker Events
As the COVID-19 pandemic entered its second year, life in Hong Kong continued to be far from normal, and the Foreign Correspondents’ Club was no exception to the rule. Much like 2020, our ability to plan in-person events this year was severely reduced by government restrictions that prevented us from hosting our popular club lunches. (We organized plenty of Zoom events, however.)
Fortunately the situation improved in the second half of the year, and in August we were able to resume inviting notable guest speakers to the club. Here’s a look back at the lineup of speakers we hosted in 2021.
August 12: Matthew Marsh
For our first in-person speaker event of the year, Fox Sports Asia analyst (and FCC member) Matthew Marsh gave a behind-the-scenes look at F1 in the age of COVID.
“As a journalist, being able to talk to other journalists, being able to talk to team people, being able to watch the way they behave is critical,” Marsh said, comparing the experience of firsthand, in-person reporting versus remote reporting.
The flip side of that is… when I interview drivers on Zoom or whatever it is we’re using, it’s better. Would you believe?” he said.
September 1: Dr. Trisha Leahy
Dr. Trisha Leahy, chief executive officer of the Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI), joined the FCC for an in-person discussion about the lead-up to Hong Kong’s Olympic success.
“These are the results of the system we’ve been building for the last eight to 12 years,” Leahy said.
September 2: Harry Harrison
For over 20 years, award-winning political cartoonist Harry Harrison has put pen to paper satirizing Hong Kong life and politics for the South China Morning Post. Having recently released a new book, Add Ink: Cartoon Chronicles of Life in Hong Kong, Harrison appeared at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club to discuss his career and the process of drawing cartoons.
“I’m continuing doing what I do assuming I’m treading the right side of whatever invisible red line there. As far as I know, that’s what’s happening and they know what my cartoons are about. Either that or I’m sitting on a powder keg”, Harrison said.
In a lunch talk at the FCC, Schuman said that his own experience of learning history had inspired the book.
“We are, I think, all in part shaped by our history and, more importantly, how we learn our history and how we perceive our history, or in some cases, misperceive our history,” Schuman said.
September 21: Regina Ip
Offering an overview of the relationship between China and Hong Kong, longtime public servant and politician Regina Ip, a member of the Executive Council and the Legislative Council, said that tensions between the mainland and the SAR were natural and to be expected.
“The implementation of ‘One Country, Two Systems’ was never expected to be painless and trouble-free,” Ip said. “It is a bold and innovative concept, but the accommodation of a small but radically different system within a large, continental-size economy, is bound to be fraught with tensions and challenges.”
In a presentation at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, O’Neill recounted how Chiang and Vakhreva met while they were working, most unexpectedly, at the same heavy machinery plant in Yekaterinburg. She was born in Orsha in 1916 and fled war to the more favorably located Yekaterinburg. Chiang, meanwhile, had asked his father, Chiang Kai-shek, if he could study at Sun Yat-sen University in Moscow, where he excelled at learning Russian and drinking and dancing, among other things.
October 11: David Yeung
The role raising livestock for meat consumption plays in increasing greenhouse gas emissions is well known, but as Green Monday CEO David Yeung explained, eating seafood should be considered equally bad.
“There is a gigantic piece of the puzzle that is missing, that is not talked about and public awareness is extremely low, and it’s about the ocean,” Yeung said. He shared data showing that fishing has increased by 900% over the last 70 years, a trajectory that he called “utterly unsustainable.”
October 12: Cheng Huan
In a lunch talk during which he shared his thoughts and reflections on the 2020 National Security Law passed by the central government, senior barrister Cheng Huan said that Hong Kong has a legal obligation to enact its own national security law under Article 23 of the Basic Law as soon as possible.
“My biggest disappointment is that, for 17 years after 2003, one administration after another, and especially the members of LegCo, consistently failed to carry out their constitutional duty according to the Basic Law by not enacting Article 23,” Cheng said. “Because they failed to do so, Hong Kong now has a National Security Law imposed from above. This should never have been necessary.”
November 1: Biodiversity & Climate Change Panel
While COP26 took place in Glasgow, Laurence McCook of WWF Hong Kong, KPMG China partner Irene Chu and conservationist Dr. Billy Hau spoke at the FCC on November 1. During this lunchtime panel, the environmental experts spelled out Hong Kong’s ecological toll and outlined its role in creating a more sustainable world.
The WWF ranks the city’s ecological footprint (measuring human demand on land and water) as the third worst in Asia-Pacific and 14th worst globally.
November 3: Afghanistan Panel
Nearly 20 years after the defeat of the Taliban in November 2001, a panel of journalists told an audience at the FCC that no one could have predicted the ease with which the Taliban regained control of Kabul this past August.
CNN’s Anna Coren, who was on the ground in Afghanistan earlier this year, said that she and her colleagues sensed trouble because of the way in which the Taliban seized control of the provinces, but even they were surprised by what happened in Kabul.
“I don’t think in our wildest dreams we thought that the Taliban would just roll in on the 15th of August without a shot being fired, which is basically what happened,” Coren said.
November 9: Herald van der Linde
Anyone looking to invest or have a better understanding of how Asia’s stock markets function shouldn’t be paying attention to the performance of the Dow Jones Index, said renowned market analyst Herald van der Linde during a lunch talk at the FCC.
“You should look at what the bond market does first,” van der Linde said. “What happens there and how do we translate that back into the stock market?”
November 17: Capt. Alan Loynd
In a lunch talk at the FCC, Loynd discussed the highlights of his exciting and at times dramatic career, which included stints on cargo ships, passenger ships and avoiding attack in the Persian Gulf during the Iran–Iraq War, all of which is recounted in his recently published memoir All at Sea.
“I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to go to sea,” Loynd said.
The spokesperson of the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in the HKSAR strongly disapproved and firmly rejected misleading comments of a spokesperson of the European External Action Service and the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Hong Kong on the law enforcement activities of the Hong Kong police, which vilified Hong Kong’s rule of law and freedom and emboldened anti-China elements in Hong Kong. The historical trend of righting the wrongs in Hong Kong is unstoppable, and all external interference will prove to be futile.
The spokesperson said that Hong Kong is a society under the rule of law where it enforces laws and regulations and prosecutes any illegal acts. The actions taken by the Hong Kong police towards the relevant organization in accordance with law and the arrest of individuals suspected of conspiring to publish seditious publications are actions of justice to safeguard national security, the rule of law and public order in Hong Kong. It is what the Hong Kong society expected and brooks no interference. Those who engage in activities that endanger national security and undermine the rule of law and public order under the cover of journalism are the black sheep tarnishing the press freedom and will be held accountable in accordance with law. Some external forces fanned the flames in haste and spoke up for anti-China forces in Hong Kong, further proving that they attempted to undermine the rule of law in Hong Kong and damage Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability.
The spokesperson pointed out that the Basic Law for the HKSAR and the National Security Law protect the lawful rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents, including freedom of speech and press. Since the implementation of the National Security Law, Hong Kong has returned to the right track, and the press freedom has been better protected in a more secure, stable and law-based environment. It is a fact that all the fair-minded cannot deny. Some external forces have repeatedly attacked the press freedom in Hong Kong to create the so-called “chilling effect”. Supporting the freedom of the press is just their excuse, and their true purpose is to disrupt the stable and sound-governed Hong Kong. Facts cannot be twisted and the historical trend cannot be reversed. No slander can distort the fact that Hong Kong enjoys a highly-developed media sector and press freedom, nor can it prevent Hong Kong from opening a new chapter in transforming from chaos to stability and prosperity. Nothing can stop the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
The spokesperson stressed that Hong Kong is part of China and Hong Kong affairs are purely China’s internal affairs. We urge some external forces to respect the facts, follow the global trend, stop undermining the rule of law in the HKSAR, stop colluding with those suspected of endangering China’s national security, and stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs under any pretext.
FCC Statement on Stand News Raid and Arrests
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong is deeply concerned over the arrests of six journalists and individuals associated with Stand News, including former directors.
More than 200 officers raided the newsroom of the online news outlet on Wednesday morning. The FCC notes that Ronson Chan, chair of the Hong Kong Journalists Association was also taken in for questioning during the raid. He was subsequently released.
These actions are a further blow to press freedom in Hong Kong and will continue to chill the media environment in the city following a difficult year for the city’s news outlets.
The FCC notes that its press freedom survey of correspondent and journalist members released in November found an overall deterioration of working conditions for journalists in Hong Kong, including 71% of respondents saying they were either slightly concerned or very concerned about the possibility of arrest or prosecution due to their reporting or from writing opinion articles.
While the FCC is not commenting on the legality of today’s actions, the club urges authorities to respect press freedom, protected under the Basic Law and vital to the maintenance of Hong Kong’s status as an international financial centre.
The six persons arrested are the former chief editor of Stand News, Chung Pui-kuen, acting editor-in-chief, Lam Shiu-tung, and former directors, Denise Ho, Margaret Ng, Christine Fang, and Chow Tat-chi.
CPJ Report Shows 8 Journalists Jailed In Hong Kong, 50 in China
The number of journalists around the world imprisoned because of their work hit a new high this year, according to a report published Thursday by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
The CPJ’s report put the number of jailed reporters at 293, up from a revised total of 280 in 2020. The report lists eight journalists in Hong Kong out of a total of 50 reporters jailed in China. The number of imprisoned journalists in Myanmar surged from none last year to 26 this year following the military coup in February.
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong is posting a link to the report here as part of its ongoing commitment to press freedom.
Mandatory use of “LeaveHomeSafe” app in the Club premise
Dear Fellow Members,
You may be aware that the Government has announced an update of mandatory use of the “LeaveHomeSafe” mobile application to all premises with effect from December 9.
Members and their guests must scan the “LeaveHomeSafe” QR code before entering the Club including health club and workroom. Only the following three groups of persons have the option to either use the “LeaveHomeSafe” apps or complete a form:
Persons aged 65 or above and aged 15 or below;
Persons with disability; and
Other persons recognized by the Government or organization(s) authorized by the Government
Please be aware that use of the “LeaveHomeSafe” app is a government requirement, and anyone not using it faces a $5000 fine. There is no exception for not having a smartphone. The only exception is for visitors under the age of 16, and those 65 or older, who will be allowed fill out a form. Individuals – that is, members and their guests – bear responsibility for using the app. In case of an inspection and a fine being issued, the Club is not responsible.
I would like to thank all of you for your continued support and willingness to adapt to these varying restrictions and regulations. And I will of course be in touch if anything changes as we monitor the situation and follow the government’s announcements.
Merry Christmas and I look forward to seeing you around the Main Bar.