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FCC Statement on World Press Freedom Day

This World Press Freedom Day, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club Hong Kong reinforces its commitment to pushing to maintain freedom of the press in Hong Kong and around the globe.
As journalists and media organisations in Hong Kong face rising pressure and uncertainty due to the recent passing of the Safeguarding National Security Act, May 3 acts as a reminder for government officials to respect their stated commitment to press freedom. It is also a day for media professionals to reflect on issues of press freedom and professional ethics.
Today we celebrate the media’s role in providing a platform to tell stories which keep our society informed and engaged about issues which affect us all. We advocate for journalists’ right to continue to carry out their work unhindered, free of harassment and danger.
We show solidarity with Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter who has been detained in Russia for over a year, and the hundreds of journalists imprisoned or killed as a consequence of doing their jobs covering conflicts in Myanmar, Ukraine, the Middle East and elsewhere.  
The Israel-Gaza war, in particular, calls attention to the need for governments to do more to safeguard journalists’ ability to inform the public. We mourn the 97 journalists and media workers killed in the course of covering that war, and express our deep concern for the 45 others reported injured, missing or arrested.1
The FCC will continue to monitor the press freedom situation in Hong Kong, make statements and question government policy with an aim to ensure that journalists can carry out their work without fear or favour.

“Freedom of the press is a precious privilege that no country can forgo” – Mahatma Gandhi

1Committee to Protect Journalists, 29 April 2024

FCC Statement on border entry denial of Reporters Without Borders representative

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong is concerned that a representative of global press freedom NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has been denied entry to Hong Kong by the city’s immigration officials.
Aleksandra Bielakowska travelled to Hong Kong twice in 2023 without incident, both times in her professional capacity as an Advocacy Officer at RSF, but was denied entry on this trip. Her colleague Cédric Alviani, who was travelling with Ms Bielakowska on April 10, was granted entry to Hong Kong.
The FCC has reached out to the Immigration Department to ask why Ms Bielakowska was denied entry.
While we appreciate that the Immigration Department does not normally comment on individual cases, we respectfully request an explanation in order to improve the transparency of the system, and so that the public may better understand the reasons behind the decision.

FCC Submission on the Consultation Document of Article 23 of the Basic Law

On February 28, The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong sent the following submission to the Security Bureau on the Consultation Document of Article 23 of the Basic Law.

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In loving memory of John McBeth

 John McBeth
May 31 1944 – December 7 2023
Of all the foreign correspondents who have worked in southeast Asia over the past six decades, none surpassed John McBeth in dedication to his craft and the esteem and friendship of his colleagues.
As a young and adventurous journalist from Taranaki, he left the Auckland Star en route to London. He never got there. Stopping off by chance in Indonesia he found a new Asian home and field for his talents.
Working in Bangkok for a variety of publications and agencies, he was an early recruit to Asiaweek, then in 1979 joined the Far Eastern Economic Review where he was to remain until its 2004 closure. He was in a Bangkok bureau with such talents as Rodney Tasker and Paisal Sricharatchnya and close friend of Neil Davis, the noted war cameraman killed in an abortive Thai coup. Eased out of his Bangkok comfort zone to Seoul, he distinguished himself covering the turmoil and political change of the late 80s and, with colleague Nayan Chanda, scooping the world on the North Korean nuclear programme.
From there it was to Manila and a still much-quoted series on the nation’s regional warlords. He then had a medical issue which resulted in the amputation of one leg. This trauma would have killed the spirits of most journalists, but with the never ending support of his wife Yuli Ismartono, the correspondent for Tempo he had met in Bangkok, he overcame the challenge. It is hard to overstate the importance of their bond.
They moved to Jakarta where he again distinguished himself with coverage of the latter Suharto years and then turmoil which followed his downfall. After the Review’s closure he wrote a regular column on Indonesia for the Straits Times and contributed to other publications and in 2011 wrote an entertaining book accurately entitled “Reporter: Forty Years Covering Asia”.

He had some strong opinions but never let them get in the way of accurate reporting delivered cleanly and on time.

As a colleague, he was always good company. Good friends included not just his immediate workmates but correspondents at large, not least FCC immediate past president Keith Richburg.

He seemed indestructible and was in fine form when I saw him just three months ago. But such is aging. Now we mourn with Yuli the passing of someone who has left us with so many good memories and a permanent record of good journalism.

Philip Bowring

LeaveHomeSafe App Update: “Red and Amber QR Codes”

LeaveHomeSafe App Update
“Red and Amber QR Codes”
Dear Members:
I would like to update you that the government has announced a new Vaccine Pass Color Code System — blue, red and amber codes. Under the regulations, any persons with the red or amber codes will not be allowed to enter the club. You can find more details here: Please also be reminded to update your LeaveHomeSafe app to version 3.4.0 to access your coloured Vaccine Pass QR Code in the “Vaccination Record” section.
The Club restrictions will remain in place. Feel free to visit our site at: for more information.
Once again, I want to thank all Members for your continued patience, understanding and your support.
Keith Richburg
12 August 2022

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 and our extensive F&B promotions. As a result of the Club being more accessible, please be advised that FCC Minimum Spend, which was rolled over from March means $1800 requirement (from January to June), will now appear on members’ June statements which will be sent in early July. 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 June.
23 June 2022

FCC restrictions remain in place

FCC restrictions remain in place
Dear Members,
The Government announced an extension of the existing social distancing measures. Please note that showing proof of a negative rapid antigen test (RAT) result obtained within 24 hours before entering the relevant premises WILL NOT be applied to our club members and guests. This new measure is only applying to bars, pubs and nightclubs but the FCC is not affected because we operate as a clubhouse catering premise.
The Club restrictions and vaccine pass implementation will remain in place, feel free to visit for more information.
We thank all Members for their understanding and your continued support.
Keith Richburg
16 June 2022

FCC restrictions update on 2 June 2022

FCC restrictions update on 2 June 2022
Dear Members:
The current precautionary measures will be extended from June 2 until further notice. The current policies will continue as follows;
All restaurants will be open until 11:59 p.m. every day. Last orders for food will be at 10:50 p.m., while last orders for drinks will be at 11:30 p.m.
Maximum number per table is 8 now, each member can bring 3 guests.
Private functions and meetings can accommodate up to 120 persons. Please contact our team at [email protected] to discuss.
Still there is no music performances at Bert’s will be held at this time.
The health club continues to open, although the sauna and steam room will remain closed. No more than 6 people are allowed in the health club at a time and masks are no longer required while exercising. Pre-register is required with the gym attendant at 2844 2849.
All persons must wear a face mask at all times within Club premises, except when eating or drinking at the table.
Staff continues to complete a COVID-19 rapid test every 3 days.
The Club continues to implement the government’s “Vaccine Pass”. Anyone who is unable to provide valid proof of vaccination will be denied entry to the Club. Please be reminded that you and your guest are required to complete the 3rd dose starting from May 31. Please remember to upload your 3rd jab record to your LHS app and make sure you’re using the latest version of the app. See below for more details on the number of doses the pass requires and arrangement for recovered persons.
Please be aware that mask wearing is a government requirement except when eating and drinking, and anyone not wearing a mask faces a $5,000 fine. In case of an inspection and a fine being issued, the Club is not responsible.
We thank all Members for their understanding and your continued support.
Keith Richburg
2 June 2022


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