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Ex-BBC journalist who conquered the closed world of jade carving in China

Former BBC reporter Andrew Shaw is proof that there is life after journalism, even if it took extreme changes for him to achieve it. Kate Whitehead tells his unusual story.

Master jade carver Andrew Shaw in his workshop in Suzhou Master jade carver Andrew Shaw in his workshop in Suzhou

Plenty of hardened hacks fantasise at some point or other about getting out of journalism. For veteran BBC reporter Andrew Shaw that urge had been gnawing at him for some years before he made the leap. The Londoner had no interest in taking the well-trodden route to the dark side, PR, and his transition was such a radical shift it took everyone by surprise.

The seed for change was planted in 2002, when Shaw took a four-month sabbatical from a job he no longer enjoyed and much-needed time out from caring for his mother who was seriously ill.

“I was fed up with journalism, I’d got everything I wanted to out of it, I’d done everything I needed to do, I was just repeating myself, it was time to do something else,” says Shaw.

For four carefree months he lived in Thailand in a hut on the beach, did yoga, went to a Buddhist retreat and laughed at the sheer joy of being alive – and not at work. On the last day of his trip, while visiting Wat Doi Suthep, the temple overlooking the northern city of Chiang Mai, he stumbled into a small jade shop. A beautiful lavender jade Buddha caught his eye.

“As soon as I touched it, it just sang to me, such a beautiful stone, I fell in love with jade at that moment,” says Shaw.

From there it was back to the grindstone at the BBC and his filial obligations, but his holiday romance with jade didn’t fade, it became a fully-fledged obsession. Every time he was sent on assignment overseas, he went looking for jade. In Hong Kong, he spent three days haggling over a piece. In 2006, his mother died when he was in Vietnam covering the trial of disgraced British pop star Gary Glitter. He knew it was time to do something else.

“I put my affairs in order and the next year got a plane to China, and went to Suzhou, where I heard there was a jade carving centre, and started looking for someone to teach me to carve jade,” says Shaw.

It was a bold move. It was 2008, the year of the Beijing Olympics, and it took some sweet talking to explain to immigration why a former BBC reporter suddenly wanted to live in Suzhou. What’s more, the then 51-year-old didn’t speak a word of Chinese. But he was determined. He enrolled in a Chinese class at the local university and then set about trying to find his way into the carving industry.

“The words to ‘carve jade’ and ‘go fishing’ are very similar, so quite often people would say, ‘Oh, you like to go fishing’. Even when I showed them a piece of jade, they’d say, ‘So where do you go fishing?’” says Shaw.

After seven months he had a basic grasp of the language and found the city’s network of jade carving alleys where thousands of jade carvers worked in small workshops.

“I went from workshop to workshop for six months asking people whether they’d teach me to carve jade. People don’t like to say no, they drink tea with you. Most jade carvers retire at 50 and I was already over 50,” says Shaw.

Eventually, he found a man who agreed to let him use a spindle and gave him old pieces of jade to carve and Shaw went there every afternoon for two years. Then he set up his own workshop and sold his pieces in the local market.

All the hard work paid off in 2016, when he won a medal in the Zi Gang Bey Jade Carving Competition in Suzhou. The following year, he invited international carvers to enter and it’s now the world’s only international jade carving competition. When he proposed to his wife, Ann, who he met in Suzhou, he gave her a flawless piece of white jade.

“A flawless piece of white jade is difficult to get hold of and cost a lot. She’s never taken it off since I gave it to her,” says Shaw.

Today the couple runs Ann’s English Tea House and Restaurant, a cafe with jade gallery attached, beside Jinji Lake. Although Shaw has turned his back on journalism, he hasn’t stopped writing and this year released Jade Life: An
Englishman’s Love Affair with China’s National Treasure
, published by Earnshaw Books.

“It’s about the Chinese jade industry as told from the perspective of a Western jade carver. The book has a journalistic rigour to it, with plenty of interviews, and I’ve fact-checked all the sources,” says Shaw, the only foreign master jade carver in China. n



Right time, right place for Walter Kent’s clock

Carsten Schael and John Batten with the newly-installed clock. Carsten Schael and John Batten with the newly-installed clock.

Long-term FCC member, the late Walter Kent, will be remembered for his punctual time-keeping now that part of his bequest to the club has been put in its rightful place, at the Ice House Street end of the Main Bar.

It was Walter’s favourite drinking spot and an obvious choice as the permanent home of the Jaeger-LeCoultre clock that Walter, who died in 2016, received as a 25th anniversary gift for working at Chase Manhattan Bank.

“It is a fitting memorial for one of the FCC’s most loyal recent members,” said John Batten (pictured right being helped by Carsten Schael) when they fixed the clock to the Main Bar in August.

Obituary: ‘Tank Man’ photographer, Charlie Cole

The photojournalist who took the picture that will forever represent the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 died in September in Bali aged 64. Charlie Cole’s Tank Man was included in the FCC’s June Wall exhibition marking the 30th anniversary of the protests.

Charlie Cole in the early 1990s

Born in the U.S., Cole spent more than half his life living outside the States in seven different countries. His career began at the Black Star Photo Agency and then later the Picture Group in New York, before he moved to Tokyo “because it was in the heart of a dynamic region and not well covered”. This led to a 10-year contract with Newsweek magazine, covering Asia. Cole said: “It was a period which saw some of the most dramatic events and changes in the world’s history. From Afghanistan to Beijing to Jakarta to Tokyo, it was an amazing time.”

He was one of four photographers who captured the moment one man faced up to a row of tanks in Tiananmen Square, but it was Cole who won the World Press Photo of the Year Award 1990. He regretted the picture becoming the iconic symbol of the protests, and felt that other photographers covering the event deserved equal recognition.

Cole lived in Bali for the last 15 years of his life, often battling pain after a motorcycle accident in Tokyo that left him with serious leg injuries. He leaves a widow, Rosanna.

The contact sheet of images from both within and near Tiananmen Square, May-June 1989.
© Charlie Cole

Book Review – The 100 Burgundy: Exceptional Wines to Build a Dream Cellar

As a trading hub for wine, Hong Kong has seen the price and volume of Burgundy coming into Asia rocket. The region’s first Master of Wine – who’s an FCC member – has just launched a book on the subject. Colin Simpson reports

Jeannie Cho Lee with her book, The 100 Burgundy: Exceptional Wines to Build a Dream Cellar Jeannie Cho Lee with her book, The 100 Burgundy: Exceptional Wines to Build a Dream Cellar

Global demand for Burgundy has soared in recent years, along with the prices of the finest wines – and Asia has helped drive this trend.

Exports of Burgundy to Hong Kong rose 8.8 percent by volume and a whopping 24.5 percent by value last year, according to the Bourgogne Wine Board.

Data from Liv-ex, the global marketplace for the wine trade, show that the prices of top Burgundies have rocketed ahead of those of other leading wine regions and countries.

The most sought-after wines routinely command eye-watering prices. For example, this year Romanée-Conti 2015 sold for HK$198,400 per bottle at an Acker auction in Hong Kong, which is a major regional trading and distribution hub for wine.

However, Burgundy is a tricky, complex region, and for buyers there is the added problem of counterfeit wines.

Given all this, the appearance of a helpful guide in the form of The 100 Burgundy: Exceptional Wines to Build a Dream
by Jeannie Cho Lee is timely. Hong Kong-based Lee, an FCC member, is the first Asian Master of Wine.

The book has descriptions of 100 of Lee’s favourite Burgundies with information about the domaines that produce them. In her introduction, Lee says that rather than going into the microscopic details of terroir, viticulture, fragmented vineyard holdings, or winemaking choices, she aims to provide an “impressionistic” portrait of the wines.

Despite this, there is some talk of “cool pre-fermentation maceration” and the like, which may not interest the general reader. Also, the exact dimensions of the featured domaines’ many tiny parcels of land are listed, something that wine buyers might not find particularly useful.

The descriptions of the wines, based on knowledge built up from countless tastings over many years, are authoritative and give a good sense of what they are like.

For example, she compares two wines from Domaine de la Romanée‑Conti, Burgundy’s greatest property – the extremely scarce Romanée‑Conti, mentioned above, and its stablemate La Tâche: “La  Tâche  is clearly more forceful, more vigorous, and well defined; it is also earlier maturing and much easier to enjoy young.”

The book is handsomely illustrated, and there’s lots of useful advice on buying Burgundy, building up a cellar and serving the wines. On the subject of counterfeiting, Lee says the growing number of fakes is a concern for Burgundy lovers.

She adds: “My personal experience with wines in Asia shows that we need to be more vigilant than ever… as prices increase for all Burgundy wines, fakes will expand quickly.” 

The 100 Burgundy: Exceptional Wines to Build a Dream Cellar, by Jeannie Cho Lee (Assouline, HK$580).


An affinity between Burgundy and Asian food is one of the reasons the wines have become more popular in the region, Jeannie Cho Lee said at the Hong Kong launch of her new book at the Mandarin Oriental on September 4.

“With Cantonese food, with Japanese food, with a lot of Asian cuisines, Burgundy reds are actually more suitable than the tannic, bigger Bordeaux reds,” she said.

A disenchantment with Bordeaux in 2010 and 2011 also gave Burgundy a boost in Asia, she said. Prices set by leading Bordeaux producers were seen as too high, and collectors who bought the wines as an investment found that values did not increase.

In addition, some felt Bordeaux had become commonplace, while top Burgundies – which are produced in much smaller volumes – had an attractive rarity value.


The Peace Hotel: Bund masterpiece still standing tall at 90

The Peace Hotel on Shanghai’s Bund has seen it all over 90 years, from glittering guests such as Charlie Chaplin and Noel Coward, to the Gang of Four and Communist officials settling in as the wheels of history turned. Jonathan Sharp went along for birthday celebrations.

View of the Bund in 1934 View of the Bund in 1934

China has many significant anniversaries to mark – or ignore – in 2019. One that does not appear to have politically sensitive overtones is this year’s 90th anniversary of the opening of the Peace Hotel, the Art Deco masterpiece on Shanghai’s Bund.

Originally called the Cathay and now part of Fairmont’s global stable, the Peace has been witness, and sometimes party to, some of the most remarkable and momentous changes of fortune that have studded China’s modern history.

And, externally at least, it still looks much the same as it did when it opened in 1929, complete with the distinctive copper-sheathed green pyramid on top that glows at night.

Sir Victor Sassoon with actor Laurence Olivier and actress Greer Garson Sir Victor Sassoon with actor Laurence Olivier and actress Greer Garson

The hotel was the brainchild of real estate tycoon Sir Victor Sassoon, the most notable of the Jews of Iraqi origin who took their chances in Shanghai. He used an 11th floor penthouse in the hotel as his pied-a-terre.

Perhaps most renowned for its front and centre role in Shanghai’s heyday of hedonism and decadence in the 1930s, the hotel also weathered rogue bombs and Japanese occupation, and the Communist takeover in 1949. During the Cultural Revolution members of the radical Gang of Four availed themselves of its services.

Once the tallest building in the Far East, the granite-clad hotel now stands shoulder-to-shoulder with a parade of other magnificent historical relics that once housed foreign banks, trading houses and consulates, strung along the elegant curve of the Bund.

First ad in 1919 First ad in 1919

Facing directly opposite them across the Huangpu River is the glitzy cluster of skyscrapers of Pudong, totems of today’s China. This graphic counterpoint between past and present China is best viewed, as I did recently, from the terraced bar on the ninth floor of the Peace.

The hotel, like other buildings along the Bund, had a difficult birth because of the treacherous nature of the construction site, a swamp scores of metres deep in mud. The solution employed by venerable Hong Kong-based architects Palmer & Turner – still going strong today – was to saturate the site with masses of timber piles covered by a giant concrete raft. It worked.

Once completed as the height of opulence, extravagance and state-of-the-art facilities, the hotel hosted and boasted a glittering roll call of celebrity guests. It was one of the places in Asia for the famous to see and be seen, to preen and be preened. So, the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Paulette Goddard stayed, Douglas Fairbanks tested the sprung timber ballroom floor. And Noel Coward drafted his play Private Lives in his hotel room while recovering from ’flu. 

Zhou Wanrong, 99, original Old Jazz Band member Zhou Wanrong, 99, original Old Jazz Band member

Sir Victor’s costume parties were legion and legendary. But one went hilariously awry, as chronicled by Taras Grescoe in his superb book, Shanghai Grand. At a circus-themed dance, Sylvia Chancellor, wife of Christopher Chancellor of the Reuters Far East bureau, and Henry Keswick of Jardine’s smuggled a live donkey into the party. The donkey duly defecated amidst the dancers. Sir Victor was not amused. Mrs Chancellor’s high jinks did not harm her husband’s career one jot. Sir Christopher rose to run all of Reuters for 15 years.

In those days Shanghai gloried in the title as the “Paris of the Orient”, but it was also described as the “Whore of the Orient” for its prostitution, drug dens and corruption.  Evidence of the city’s squalor and crushing mass poverty was right outside the hotel. One of the best known of the army of beggars was called “Light in the Head”. He kept a lighted candle, dripping wax, on his shaved head. 

On August 14, 1937, the war with Japan came shatteringly close when two stray bombs from Chinese aircraft aiming at a Japanese warship in the Huangpu River shook the hotel to its foundations. The bombs devastated Nanjing Street outside the hotel, but spared the guests. Seemingly the party was well and truly over.

James Cowan on the hotel’s restored Steinway piano James Cowan on the hotel’s restored Steinway piano

When the Communists came to power in 1949 the hotel was used by municipal officials before being reconstituted as the Peace Hotel in 1956.

My first stay was in 1971 when an air of faded glory pervaded the hotel. I recall large rooms with overstuffed armchairs and original bathroom fittings made in Wolverhampton, a gritty industrial town near where I grew up in the UK. The plumbing still worked (good job, Wolverhampton!).

A memorable milestone was reached in 1980 when the hotel’s legendary Old Jazz Band performed once again. Live jazz in Communist China! The evident joy and enthusiasm of the six elderly musicians more than made up for any technical rustiness resulting from their years in the shadows.

The sextet’s successors still soldier on nightly, although in today’s more relaxed cultural atmosphere they inevitably lack what was once a highly marketable novelty value.

In 2007 the Peace Hotel closed for three years of extensive, and expensive, renovation undertaken with solemn pledges to restore it as far as possible to its former Art Deco glory.

And, as far as my untutored eye can judge, the multi-million dollar facelift for what is now the Fairmont Peace Hotel (although Shanghai residents including taxi drivers stick to the old name) has been a success.

Ribbon dancer at 90th anniversary party Ribbon dancer at 90th anniversary party

Of immediate impact is the stunning octagonal rotunda in the lobby with a copper and yellow-tinted glass skylight that for decades was hidden. 

However, throughout the revamped hotel, authentic touches abound in the furniture and fittings, not least the huge claw-foot bathtub in the bathroom of the spacious double room where my wife Betty and I stayed. Betty’s tutored eye also approved of the eighth floor Dragon Phoenix restaurant. Rates and prices were, by Hong Kong standards at least, pleasantly reasonable.

So, I am guessing Sir Victor would have approved of the makeover of his masterpiece. Perhaps he would be less happy with a sour note that intrudes, one that is entirely out of the hotel’s control. When we tuned into the BBC World Service in our room, the screen periodically went blank – footage of the Hong Kong protests, then in full swing, was being aired. The programme resumed when the world’s other dramas and disasters less close to home were reported.

August 1 saw the launch of grand celebrations of the hotel’s 90th anniversary. Blasts from the past included an appearance by 99-year-old Zhou Wanrong, leader of the Old Jazz Band when it was revived in 1980. Another reminder of the hotel’s extraordinary history was a recital played on the Steinway piano that was ordered by Sir Victor for the hotel’s opening.


On The Wall: HKG by Vincent Yu

Photographs by Vincent Yu from his 1998 book, HKG, and its 20th anniversary edition

Chris Patten, The Last Governor of Hong Kong, writes:

“Vincent Yu, whose work I have known for years, has in this book assembled a collection of photographs which tell us an enormous amount about the community’s history and life of Hong Kong.

[ngg src=”galleries” ids=”14″ display=”basic_thumbnail” thumbnail_crop=”0″]He became a familiar face during my years in Hong Kong and it has been a pleasure to see him on the other side of his camera on recent visits. I am sure that everybody who reads this book will feel that they have been reminded about what a great city Vincent has photographed over the years.

I hope, indeed all Hong Kong’s friends hope, that it will remain a great city with its autonomy and rule of law still in place. It is sad that anyone has to think otherwise, but recent events have not all been very encouraging except of course for the courage and principle which so many Hong Kong citizens still demonstrate.”

About Vincent Yu

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Yu has worked as an Associated Press photographer covering major news events across the Asia-Pacific region since the mid-1980s. As a close observer of Hong Kong’s social and political development, Yu has acquired a unique sensitivity towards the territory’s ever-changing cityscape and environment which are often reflected through his imaginaries.

Yu is an award-winning photographer whose works cover both the journalistic and documentary genres. He is the first Hong Kong photographer to have been recognised by World Press Photo and his works are being collected by the Hong Kong Heritage Museum.

Yu was chairman of the Hong Kong Press Photographers Association, and a founding member of the Hong Kong International Photo Festival. From 2010-2012, he operated The Upper Station Photo Gallery in Hong Kong, which showcased the works of some of Hong Kong’s most acclaimed photographers.

On The Wall: Rain, by William Furniss

William Furniss is an urbanist and architectural photographer based in Hong Kong but born in London in 1970. An early interest in science and design led to an engineering degree at Exeter University in England before beginning his photographic career in 1991. Initially taken with the idea of working as a portrait photographer, Furniss assisted luminaries of the London scene such as Patrick Litchfield and Terry O’Neill.

[ngg src=”galleries” ids=”13″ display=”basic_thumbnail” thumbnail_crop=”0″]In 1993 William was encouraged by friends who lived here to visit Hong Kong. Deng Xiaoping had reputedly said: “To get rich is glorious”, and the world’s focus had swung towards China. Fully intending to continue portrait photography, his work took a change of direction.  The alien visual landscape of Hong Kong reignited a fascination with documenting the immediate environment; the rural English landscapes of his youth were replaced by the chaotic cityscapes of Asia.

Furniss’ interest in cities led him to New York in 1999 with two years spent there developing his approach which today favours pre-visualisation of the image and camera-only manipulations to create a subjective but recognisable record of our time. His pictures are a testament to the belief that cities should be vibrant, enjoyable, sustainable, democratic places that enable a positive future for us on this planet.

William’s ongoing project, Rain, consists of photographs shot through the water rushing down the windows of Hong Kong trams, during our frequent rainstorms. With the focus on this watery plane Hong Kong is at once diffused and distilled to its essence.

Prints from this series are available for sale and enquiries of any kind can be addressed to William via his website,

On The Wall: Hong Kong Protests – Past and Present

Current photographs, Birdy Chu; others from FCC archive and courtesy of SCMP

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times”

Tear gas, rubber bullets and sponge rounds became a regular sight in Hong Kong from June. The extradition bill aroused hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong people to march every weekend, creating an influential movement.

Just five years after the Umbrella Movement, this time around the scale is much larger and has been escalating week by week. The city has become a hotspot of international news.

As the weeks went by, my backpack became heavier. I now need a yellow vest, full face mask and helmet, plus an action camera when I go out filming. It is a war zone, and that’s no joke! I was hit by the water cannon mixed with pepper spray. My body felt as if it was burning and my eyes were red and injured. It is a horrible experience that no one will forget.   

Hong Kong has always been a safe and beautiful city.

Hong Kong people are always smart and strong.

Birdy Chu

[ngg src=”galleries” ids=”12″ display=”basic_thumbnail” thumbnail_crop=”0″]

‘Stone Age’ system leaves reporters in the dark when they cover Hong Kong courts

Not much has changed for years in the way Hong Kong’s courts handle the media, leaving reporters to rely on an unspoken code of sharing any information they can get their hands on. This doesn’t bode well for the protest-related cases the judiciary will handle in the coming months. Jane Moir reports.

Journalists who regularly cover the courts in Hong Kong have an unspoken code. You can keep a scoop to yourself but are expected to share the essentials of a case with other court reporters, from writ lists to submissions by counsel.

It is a system which evolved out of necessity. On a typical day at the High Court there might be 25 hearings for journalists to cover. At the District Court, a similar figure. Add the city’s seven magistracies, the coroner’s court, and lands and labour tribunals into the mix and it would take an editorial army to do justice to the daily court diary.

In the coming months, as protest-related arrests and judicial reviews gradually trickle into the courts, journalists will have no choice but to select which cases they will cover.

Globally, as jurisdictions embrace technology and respond to dwindling journalist numbers with easier access to the courts and digitalised documentation, Hong Kong has made just incremental change over the past 20 years.

Journalists in Hong Kong are not privy to large chunks of a case: for example, witness statements which are accepted as evidence but not read out in court. Written expert reports, also deemed to be part of a case’s evidence, are not made available, even in redacted form.

In criminal cases, there has been some progress and journalists no longer have to beg friendly prosecutors to see an indictment. The High Court press office now keeps a copy for journalists to see.

But in the District Court and magistrates courts, journalists must still approach prosecutors or counsel to see what charges a defendant is facing. Although these charges will be read out in court, it requires a speedy hand to note down all the facts. The same is the case with any admitted facts read out in open court with crucial details – such as spellings of names – a reporter would want to check.

“It’s still very Stone Age,’’ says South China Morning Post court reporter Chris Lau. “When things like admitted facts are read in open court, they are read very quickly and sometimes it’s difficult to follow because we don’t have the same documents.’’

Civil cases can be particularly problematic to cover, he says, as opening and closing submissions may not be read out, leaving gaps in the facts and legal arguments for both the press and public.

These skeleton arguments are sometimes accepted by the court with only a few particular queries from the bench. It can be a hardy exercise for a journalist to piece together the gist of an argument when counsel refers to paragraph numbers rather than reading the relevant text.

Court reporters must ask counsel for a copy of their submissions, which is not always granted, although in high profile cases they are sometimes available in soft copy. At the Court of Final Appeal (CFA), counsel’s submissions are uploaded onto the CFA website “with parties’ consent”, according to the Judiciary.

In some cases, it may be only at judgment stage that the picture becomes clear. The Judiciary publishes judgments online and in recent years has tended to upload the documents the same day the decision is handed down. This is not always the case: for example, there was a two-week delay in uploading the English version of a decision to jail democracy activists Joshua Wong Chi-fung, Na-than Law Kwun-chung and Alex Chow Yong-kang in 2017.

Most judgments will give a good summary of the facts, evidence and reasoning. Occasionally however a judge will refer to a “helpful summary of the background and issues” as set out in counsel’s – unpublished – skeleton submissions, and only give a very brief outline.

Similar issues over access to the courts and case information in the UK led to a review in 2018. As a result, HM Courts published guidance on what information journalists are entitled to, as well as allowing journalists to report on cases using texts or other communications. The general starting point is that journalists should be supplied with documents and information unless there is a good reason not to.

The criminal procedure rules were also revised in October 2018 to incorporate the procedure for journalists’ requests for copies of court documents. In general, if a document has been read out in court, it should usually be provided on request – electronically, if possible.

Other jurisdictions, such as the U.S., take a different approach. To any court reporter, a browse on New York’s Supreme Court website is the stuff of fantasy: a plethora of information, from the writ and defence, counterclaim, witness statements, exhibits and even correspondence between parties.

Reporters from Hong Kong who covered the New York trial of disgraced former minister Patrick Ho in December were astonished by the wealth of case-related information they had access to, either online or available through the attorney general’s press office.

Hearings have likewise commonly been televised in the U.S. for decades. Britain’s Supreme Court began live streaming in 2014. Hong Kong’s High Court has broadcast some high-profile trials – the prosecution of former chief executive Donald Tsang and the Sun Hung Kai Kwok brothers’ trial for example – in the vicinity of the courtroom (usually the lobby outside) given seating constraints. In terms of televised hearings, the Judiciary says it is “keeping in view the developments in other jurisdictions on this front” but cites “divergent views” as being a factor in the decision that it has “no plan to introduce televised hearings in Hong Kong courts’’.

In respect of journalists’ digital access to other information such as witness statements and expert reports, the Judiciary says: “…thorough considerations need to be given and relevant stakeholders including the legal profession need to be fully consulted before a decision can be made.”

As the courts gear up to handle more and more protest-related cases, court reporters will still need their unspoken code, friendly clerks and cooperative counsel to give an accurate account of proceedings – much as they did 20 years ago.

Jane Moir writes on legal, regulatory and financial crime issues. She is a former court reporter with the South China Morning Post and was admitted as a barrister in 2012.

Family and juvenile courts present challenge, too

Hong Kong has not opted to follow the UK in allowing journalists access to the family courts. Britain has recently moved toward greater access amid controversial cases, such as a council’s decision to remove a child from her mother illegally.

Although held in private, journalists in the UK have a presumptive right to attend family court proceedings and must adhere to reporting restrictions. In Hong Kong, family courts are closed to journalists. Some judges publish judgments of family proceedings in redacted form, but it is still the practice of the court to seek permission from the parties before doing so.

In the juvenile courts, journalists may attend hearings unless the judge decides it is not in the interests of the child in question. But in some recent cases involving children arrested at the protests and separated from their parents, court reporters were barred from attending despite the high levels of public interest. The details of the case only became available when the guardians filed a judicial review and writ for habeas corpus at the High Court.



Introducing… new FCC members, October 2019

The latest group of members to join the FCC is, as always, an interesting bunch. The membership committee meets regularly to go through applications and is always impressed by the diversity of people who want to join the club.

May JamesMay James

After 15 years working with local education, raising two beautiful daughters and running a partner’s business, the time came to pick up my passion for photography where I left it 20 years ago. I have great appreciation for friends, colleagues, clients and family who have supported and trusted me and given me the confidence and opportunities to re-enter the photography world. At first capturing sporting activities, including HK 7s for SCMP, then my first exhibition in 2017, Space and Time – Hong Kong Images. Now, among many, I wear a hardhat at the frontlines documenting the recent Hong Kong protests, frequently appearing in HKFP.

Kevin NgKevin Ng

I’m an investment banker by day, musician by night. Born and raised in Hong Kong, I studied economics in the U.S. and classical music in Berlin, Germany. Outside of my day job, I am a classical clarinetist and perform regularly with our orchestra and chamber music groups in Hong Kong and abroad. In my free time, I like cooking for my friends and travelling to new places. I always love a good glass of wine or Scotch – I will accept any recommendations.


Caroline JonesCaroline Jones

I’m Sassy Media Group’s Managing Editor. I originally came to Hong Kong six years ago to work for Bloomberg as a TV News Producer. Before that I worked as a Senior Producer for Sky News. I grew up in Bangor in Northern Ireland and, despite having lived in Dublin, Moscow, London and Hong Kong over the past two decades, my accent never seems to get any softer! I’ve always loved the arts and spent many years treading the boards for local drama groups, once picking up a Best Comedienne award from the Association of Irish Musical Societies.

Kenji CheungKenji Cheung

After finishing my civil engineering degree in HKUST, I started my career in my family business, which is trading dental products in China and Hong Kong. In 2016, I pursued my passion and opened the menswear store Bryceland’s with my business partner Ethan Newton in Tokyo, and then opened a second store in Stanley Street, Hong Kong. My hobbies are collecting vintage clothing and items, and my favourite sport is table tennis.


Siddharth TiwariSiddharth Tiwari

I head the Bank for International Settlements Office for Asia and the Pacific and moved to Hong Kong last November. At heart, I am a traveller seeking new environments and challenges. In the past, I have called many places my home: New Delhi, Bangkok, London, Chicago, Washington DC, Moscow, and Singapore. In my career in economics and public policy, I have worked in nearly 85 countries around the globe. These travels have fostered a deep interest in food, music, and art. I am also an avid fan of cricket, soccer, and baseball. My wife, Bonnie, joins me in this exploration.   

Marco FoehnMarco Foehn

I arrived in Hong Kong in the early 1980s and worked as a banker for 20 years. Throughout my stay in Hong Kong, I served on various boards, from the HK Financial Markets Association to International School Boards and HK Country Club, and have always had a keen interest in serving the public at large. From 2011-17 I was Chief Operating Officer of the German Swiss International School (GSIS). I particularly adore Hong Kong’s beautiful countryside. Back in 2007, I bought WalkHK and employ eight guides showing tourists the beauty of Hong Kong.  

Fung Wai KongFung Wai Kong (Lo Fung)

To learn something new is always a challenge. To learn a new “language” in midlife is a daunting task. Yet, I decided to learn to play the saxophone at the age of 50. It was almost mission impossible for me, especially for the first year. But when you get everything right, you no longer hear just individual notes but the sound of music. That can be very rewarding. I am Consulting Editor for the Hong Kong Economic Journal and when I get stuck in my writing, I sometimes play the saxophone to relax. I may need a new pair of glasses soon as the notes seem a bit blurred lately.

Divya SahneyDivya Sahney

After a short stint as a reluctant banker in New York, I moved into advertising. As a strategic planner I developed campaigns for everything from Maltesers to the UK government. I then did freelance work on Brand India and helped women entrepreneurs. This took me from New York to London and now to Hong Kong. Along the way, my husband and I had two children and acquired a dog. The desire to give back to my country – and I guess the guilt of being an expatriate – led me to set up Hi Didi, an online peer mentoring programme for underprivileged girls in India.

Becky ChoBecky Cho

I am a Hong Kong native who has recently returned after more than two decades away, having accepted an opportunity from VF Corporation to join my fellow corporate affairs community in Asia Pacific. I’m a corporate social responsibility enthusiast and am particularly interested in playing an active role in sustainability through story-telling and partnerships with NGOs and think tanks. I first came to the FCC in the late ’80s and having lived and worked in Toronto, Taipei, Chicago and Shanghai since the ’90s, it is great to be calling Hong Kong home again. 

Alan LungAlan Lung

I was born and educated locally, later attending the University of Wisconsin in the U.S. and Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada. I chaired the Hong Kong Democratic Foundation, a political think tank (founded by Jimmy McGregor in 1989) from 1997 to 2014. I am a member of Chatham House, an international think tank. I am also a board member of Path of Democracy, a think tank founded by Ronny Tong in 2015 and am involved in managing a technology start-up incubated by the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park and Youth Innovation and Entrepreneur Hub in Shenzhen.

John NorrisJohn Norris

This is my second stint living in Hong Kong; the first was aged five, for three years, and I’ve always wanted to come back. After time in London, Zurich then Sydney, my wife and I moved here 12 years ago. Our three children were born here and we all see it as home. I’m a keen rugby player and played in Hong Kong until a serious injury stopped me. I’m still involved in the game and having managed a senior side, I now coach my children’s teams. Three years ago I took the leap into entrepreneurship as co-founder and COO of a data analytics company.

Yildiz ChoiYildiz Choi

Born and raised in Hong Kong, I consider myself a lucky girl who enjoyed the political stability and economic prosperity which allowed me to set up my own legal practice 22 years ago. Life is about seeking happiness. To me, happiness is good health and friends with shared values, plus seeing my two naughty pooches fighting. My beloved Hong Kong is now in times of turbulence and confusion. I hope that all people can gather more wisdom and walk hand-in-hand through this dark time.


Bruce YungBruce Yung

I was born in Hong Kong and educated in the UK (PhD in Chemical Engineering). I returned to Hong Kong with my wife and daughter from London in 1996. At a time when Hongkongers were thinking about leaving, we came back! I have since lived and worked in Beijing and Shanghai for oil and renewable energy companies, including BP and First Solar. I now work with like-minded colleagues in setting up a private equity fund to invest in energy start-ups. I like theatre, travelling and the gym.


Cathy YangCathy Yang

Delighted to be a returnee at the FCC. After living and working in Hong Kong for over 11 years – from covering the SARs outbreak all the way to the Occupy Central protests (and everything else in between) – I truly believe Hong Kong will always be my favourite city outside my native home, Manila, Philippines. As Anchor-Managing Editor of the ABS-CBN News Channel’s financial news programme, I travel for work, and am often in Hong Kong. As a former member of the F&B committee, I am thrilled at finding value-for-money drinks offerings on the menu.

Graham GastonGraham Gaston

I am a proud Ohio University alum (anybody else?) and was president of the 6,000 strong Metro NY Bobcat alumni group for seven years. I’ve worked at Al Jazeera, AP, ABC News, ESPN, NBC, and now Bloomberg.  All over the place, mostly in TV operations. Even a stint in reality TV. I know, gross – don’t ask! I’m very happy to be living in Hong Kong – my first time in Asia, and my first overseas gig. If you’d like to talk baseball, Brooklyn, or bowling, let me know. Also, I wouldn’t mind finding some other Bobcats or Team in Training alum!

Jenny PuJenny Pu

I am the President of the Hong Kong Neuro-oncology Society and the Chairman of the PVW Brain Tumour Foundation, raising public awareness of brain tumour and providing financial support to patients with brain tumour. Technically, I am the first female Hongkonger neurosurgeon; a Consultant in the Department of Neurosurgery at the Queen Mary Hospital, sub-specializing in neuro-oncology and skull-base surgery. I am also an Honorary Associate Professor at the Department of Surgery, University of Hong Kong, and a trainer for the Higher Neurosurgical Training at the College of Surgeons Hong Kong. I am the editor of the Molecular Biology Section of the World Neurosurgery Academic Journal.



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