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FCC Statement on Victor Mallet’s case

The refusal by Hong Kong authorities to renew the work visa of the Financial Times Asia News Editor Victor Mallet has generated grave concerns both in Hong Kong and around the world.

The FCC has asked the Hong Kong authorities to explain this decision, which sets a disturbing precedent and undermines Hong Kong’s reputation as a jurisdiction where the rule of law applies and where freedom of speech and freedom of association are guaranteed by law.

On October 9, the Chief Executive dismissed as “speculation” the link between the visa refusal for Mr Mallet and the lunch held at the FCC in August where he hosted Andy Chan Ho-tin, co-founder of the now banned pro-independence party HKNP. However, no alternative explanation has been offered. Throughout its long history the FCC has hosted politicians, businesspeople, professionals and artists of varied political persuasions, including senior members of the Hong Kong and Chinese governments and their critics.

The importance of this visa sanction goes far beyond the Foreign Correspondents’ Club and its short or long-term future in Hong Kong; it goes far beyond the FT Hong Kong bureau losing its Asia News editor, and beyond Victor Mallet himself.

This visa decision suggests that free speech may not be permitted in certain unspecified areas. The absence of an official reason or a clear explanation makes the decision appear arbitrary and lacking any basis in Hong Kong law and creates an impossible working environment for the media.

The rule of law is an essential feature of Hong Kong’s identity and its success as an international financial and commercial centre. The FCC therefore reiterates its call for the Hong Kong government to explain its action, or, in the absence of a reasonable explanation, to reverse its decision.

The FCC remains committed to playing an important civic role in facilitating debate and exchange of ideas on a wide range of topics that concern Hong Kong, Asia and the world. We will continue to welcome speakers with a range of views, including pro-establishment figures as well as Hong Kong government and Chinese officials.

12 October 2018

Sign the petition demanding an explanation: English and Chinese

香港當局拒絕續簽金融時報亞洲新聞編輯Victor Mallet的工作簽證,引起香港以及國際的極度關切。
香港外國記者會要求香港當局解釋這一決定,因這絕對是個令人不安的先例。香港法律保障言論自由和結社自由。這一決定破壞了香港作爲一個行使法治的司法管轄區的聲譽。
今年8月,Mallet先生在香港外國記者會主持香港民族黨創始人陳浩天的午餐會。10月9日,行政長官聲稱Mallet先生的工作簽證被拒續與此有關純屬「猜測」,但沒有交代其他原因。香港民族黨是在今年九月被禁止運作的。
香港外國記者會成立多年,經常接待不同政見的政治家、 商人、 專業人士和藝術家,包括香港及內地官員以及批評他們的人士。
這次簽證制裁的嚴重性並非只關乎本會以及其在香港短期或長期的未來,亦不止關乎英國金融時報香港分社失去其亞洲新聞編輯,以及Mallet先生本人。
該簽證決定表明言論自由並不適用於某些未指明的議題。由於沒有提供官方解釋或明確理由,這一決定令人覺得是武斷的,在香港法律缺乏任何依據,並令傳媒工作面對嚴峻考驗。
法治是香港身份及其作為一個成功國際金融和商業中心的基本要素。因此,本會再次呼籲香港政府解釋它的做法並推翻該決定。
香港外國記者會會繼續履行對社會的責任,致力推廣有關香港,亞洲和世界的廣泛議題的辯論以及意見交流。我們將繼續歡迎持不同意見的講者,包括親建制人士以及香港政府和中國官員。




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