HOW TO READ THE NEWS - SAMPLE ANSWERS: Row over separatist's speech [August 8, 2018]

By Edmund Ho

Carrie Lam has slammed the Foreign Correspondents' Club for inviting pro-independence leader Andy Chan to give a talk

By Edmund Ho |

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Andy Chan Ho-tin, founder of the Hong Kong National Party, has been invited to give a talk at the Foreign Correspondents' Club.

Q: What does Carrie Lam think is regrettable and inappropriate?

A: That the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) invited Hong Kong National Party convener Andy Chan Ho-tin to speak at an event.

Q: What prompted Lam to make this statement?

A: The fact that Leung Chun-ying, her predecessor, started a war of words with the FCC over this issue.

Q: In paragraph 3, what argument does Leung give for calling on the FFC not to host a separatist speaker?

A: That the site of the FCC is actually rented out to them by the government at a “token price”.

Q: What evidence does Lam give for the government respecting the freedom of the press in paragraph 4?

A: She says the government has been continuously leasing them the site out of respect for journalism in Hong Kong, but that they still charge them market price.

Q: In the last paragraph, how does Chan describe Lam’s comments?

A: He describes it as a “threat” that the government would take action if the FCC wouldn’t uninvite him.

Q: Why, does Chan think, did the FCC invite him to speak at this event?

A: They invited him “solely from a journalistic perspective”.

Q: What do you think about Lam’s comments on the Foreign Correspondents’ Club event? Is she justified in making them?

A: Yes, because she is trying to strike a balance between the aggressive posturing of CY Leung, and a conciliatory tone that might not be appealing to pro-establishment politicians.

Q: Can a government comment on whether someone should do something without interfering with their right to do it?

A: Not really, because the government’s words have the government’s power to back them up; even if they never use that power, the threat still contains enough to dissuade people. If that’s the case, then they’re not being given a free choice.

Q: What do you think of the Hong Kong National Party’s ban? Should that factor into whether they are allowed to speak at this event or not?

A: They have only been banned from running for election; if a private organisation chooses to give him a platform, however ill-advised, then he should be allowed to speak at the event.