On August 14, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong, received a response to our letter to the Director of Hong Kong Immigration, Au Ka-wang, urging clarification over the issuance of journalist visas in Hong Kong. Today, we again call for answers to four specific areas of inquiry.
Thank you for your response via Benson J F Kwok to the open letter from the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong, of 12 August 2020 regarding the processing of visas for foreign journalists.
While we appreciated the swift reply, the letter did not address or answer the four specific areas of inquiry we had regarding possible changes in the processing of visas for foreign journalists to work in Hong Kong.
Any new procedure for processing visas for foreign media in the Hong Kong SAR would be a major change and have significant implications for the many international media organisations and journalists based in Hong Kong. On behalf of the journalistic community in Hong Kong and the FCC membership, we are again urgently seeking clear answers to these four specific questions. We will include our earlier letter with the questions that we need answered, but here is a reminder of the key points:
1) Is there now a national security unit handling foreign media visa applications within the immigration department, as press reports have said?
2) What particular criteria are applied when a journalist’s visa application is being considered?
3) Are journalists now being singled out for special treatment that is delaying the granting and renewal of visas?
4) Does the immigration department recognise that journalism involves multi-tasking, so a change of duties, for example from desk editing to reporting on the ground, does not breach the terms of stay?
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong
Post Date: August 18, 2020