Days after the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Hong Kong (FCCHK), announced pro-independence activist, Andy Chan, as a speaker at a lunch event, the FCCHK was approached by the Chinese government. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the attempts by the government of China and Hong Kong to block Andy Chan from speaking at the FCC Hong Kong.
On July 30, the FCC Hong Kong announced that Chan would be the speaker at a lunch talk on August 14. According to the Hong Kong Free Press, a representative from the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong went to the FCCHK with the message “urged to reconsider its decision”. A few days later, former Chief Executive of Hong Kong Leung Chun-ying hit out at the FCCHK. “This matter of inviting Andy Chan Ho-tin to speak at the club has nothing to do with press freedom,” Leung wrote in an open letter to the club’s acting president Victor Mallet on Sunday.
In response, Victor Mallet the first vice-president of the FCC Hong Kong said: “We want to hear [Leung’s] view, we want to hear from Beijing, but we also want to hear from those who oppose them. This is precisely what this club and freedom of expression is about.”
The IFJ said: “The attempts by the Hong Kong and China Governments to block Andy Chan from speaking at the FCC Hong Kong are a blatant attempt to stifle free speech in Hong Kong. The FCC Hong Kong is an integral institution in Hong Kong’s press freedom, and continues to fight to guarantee this for the people of Hong Kong. The Government must respect the role of free speech and encourage robust dialogue and debates, which ultimately strengthen Hong Kong. We stand in solidarity with the FCCHK.”