Independence activist Andy Chan said the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s attempt to block his speech at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club proved that Hong Kong’s attempt to ban his party was a “political incident” beyond the local government.
The Club will welcome Chan, chairman of the Hong Kong National Party, for a luncheon on August 14. Announced on July 30, the speech is titled “Hong Kong Nationalism: A Politically Incorrect Guide to Hong Kong Under Chinese Rule.” The party faces a ban, with authorities asking Chan to respond to a 900-page dossier by September 4.
A representative from the Chinese commissioner’s office in Hong Kong visited the FCC, urging it to reconsider its decision to host Chan.
“From top to bottom, it was planned by the Chinese government, the script was written,” Chan told HKFP.
See also: Explanation: How Hong Kong seeks to ban an independence party using existing national security laws
“This bold exercise of pressure on the FCC is a clear suppression of freedom of speech and the freedom to conduct interviews. They treat Hong Kong like parts of China, where information can be blocked. “
Not content with simply denying Hungarians the right to free speech, the Chinese government pressured the foreign press to censor itself, trying to block our party’s luncheon in @fcchk August 14. The FCC will be broadcasting the conference live on Facebook.
– Hong Kong National Party (@hknationalparty) Aug 3, 2018
In a statement, the commissioner’s office said the independence forces have seriously violated the Chinese Constitution, the Basic Law and the laws of Hong Kong, and harmed the country’s national security and territorial sovereignty.
“We strongly support the government of the Hong Kong SAR to deal with the matter in accordance with the Basic Law and the laws of the Hong Kong SAR. We strongly oppose any attempt by outside forces to provide a platform for supporters of “Hong Kong independence” to spread their falsehoods, “he said.
Journalism and free expression NGOs criticized the decision.
“Such a move may result in self-censorship on the part of groups to avoid sensitive topics and speakers, as our annual report on freedom of expression points out. We support the FCC which stands by its principles, ”Shirley Yam of the Hong Kong Journalists Association told HKFP.
Cédric Alviani, director of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) East Asia, told HKFP that he denounced the attempted intimidation of the FCC, “a club which represents the very spirit of press freedom in Hong Kong” .
“We urge Beijing to respect freedom of speech and freedom of the press, which are explicitly written in the basic law signed by China before the handover,” Alviani added.
Acting club president Victor Mallet confirmed that the Bureau made a statement to the FCC: “Our position is that we are a club which is a very strong defender of press freedom and freedom of expression. .
See also: “Enemy of the State” – National Party Founder Andy Chan Says Party “Unmasked” Hong Kong Political Reality
Police last month told the government there was a strong enough case in the interests of “national security, public safety, public order, protection of liberty and the rights of others”For the security secretary to ban the party, citing section 8 (1) (a) of the Companies Ordinance for the first time after the surrender.