Hong Kong independence talk by Andy Chan: is the FCC trying to make news rather than report it?
The furore surrounding the Foreign Correspondents Club’s (FCC) invitation to Andy Chan Ho-tin, founder of the Hong Kong National Party, is justified (“CY Leung dares FCC to surrender lease in row over Andy Chan talk”, August 6).
Freedom of speech is a privilege that comes with responsibilities. And while former Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has demonstrated enormous ineptness in his veiled threat to link the rent of the club’s premises to the freedom of speech, he is right to question the validity of this speaker’s intentions.
Censorship is not the enemy of freedom of speech. British subjects have a negative right to freedom of expression, inferring a right to say what they wish within certain parameters – should I elect to stand at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park and advocate the abolition of the monarchy, for instance, I could be arrested!
It is entirely right for Chief Executive Carrie Lam Yuet-ngor to describe the Club’s invitation as “regrettable and inappropriate” and for her to reiterate the position of the government in defending Hong Kong as an inalienable part of China.
The FCC (of which I am a member) has sought to inflame sentiment by inviting an individual seeking to damage Hong Kong by advocating independence. It seems puerile and makes me wonder if the club is trying to create news rather than report it.
Mark Peaker, The Peak