International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned by recent
interventions by China’s
Central Government in seeking to cancel or postpone talks organised by the Foreign
Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong (FCC).
to local media reports, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs contacted the FCC in
relation to two separate events involving guest speakers Kate Saunders,
Communications Director of the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet, and Thailand’s ousted former Prime Minister,
statement on March 13, the FCC said the Ministry had expressed concern about not
being invited to reply to a scheduled speech by Saunders. It requested that the
event be cancelled or postponed until the Chinese Government could find a
speaker to present its view.
the FCC declined to cancel the event, arrangements were reportedly made to
postpone the discussion until a Chinese representative was nominated to deliver
a reply. The FCC said the event would go ahead in early April even if the Government
did not provide a speaker.
the second time this month that the FCC was notified of government concerns
about the club’s program of guest speakers. An event in which Thaksin
Shinawatra was scheduled to deliver a speech was postponed, reportedly because
Thaksin could not attend due to government agitation. Thaksin eventually gave
the speech by video link.
IFJ advocates that all voices in a debate be heard, and the Government of China
is entitled to offer its point of view in public discussions. However, it is
inappropriate for any government or official to make demands that have the
effect of stalling or restricting the free expression of diverse opinions,” IFJ
General Secretary Aidan White said.
IFJ urges the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong
to cooperate with the FCC in promptly nominating a representative to deliver
the government’s point of view in the discussion with Kate Saunders.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
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