FCC accused of omitting independence advocate's speech from minutes

The Foreign Correspondents' Club did not include independence advocate Andy Chan Ho-tin's speech in the minutes of their meeting, pro-establishment media reported.

Phoenix Un and Sophie Hui

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Foreign Correspondents' Club did not include independence advocate Andy Chan Ho-tin's speech in the minutes of their meeting, pro-establishment media reported.

Chan, founder of the Hong Kong National Party, delivered a talk at a club luncheon on August 14 after being invited to do so.

The club holds its board of governors meeting on a monthly basis. In the meeting, discussions are held to confirm the details for the talks during the next month's luncheons.

However, such invitations were not mentioned in the club's minutes in July, which is different to its usual practice, Pro-Beijing newspaper Ta Kung Pao reported.

The 26-page meeting minutes it claimed to have obtained listed the confirmed speeches and activities from July to November. It included speeches from documentary filmmaker Ruby Yang, Vasuki Shastry from Standard Chartered Bank, and former environment undersecretary Christine Loh Kung-wai.

The minutes clearly marked the dates and speaker at every event.

But in the activities held in August, it only listed the talks by Chinese University engineering professor Wong Kam-fai, who spoke about artificial intelligence on August 7, and Tai Kwun director Timothy Calnin on August 28.

The minutes failed to mention Chan's talk on August 14.

News coverage and video footage relating to Chan's speech were still on the FCC's website yesterday.

Chan's speech, which revolved around "Hong Kong nationalism," called for independence as he said democracy would be impossible in the SAR under China's rule.

He called on the United States to reveal and cancel the US-HK Policy Act, an American law that grants Hong Kong a special position in economic issues.

He also called on the United States to treat China and Hong Kong equally in the trade war, and expel both China and SAR from the World Trade Organization.

The FCC had been heavily criticized since it was revealed that it invited Chan to speak at its luncheon.

Former chief executive Leung Chun-ying accused the FCC of providing a platform for independence advocacy using government property. The FCC's current headquarters is located on Lower Albert Road. Leung even called for a public tender to be issued for the lease when it expires in 2023.

Beijing also lambasted the FCC and the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had asked the club to revoke the invitation it extended to Chan.

Following the speech, it said no foreign powers will be allowed to provide a platform for independence advocacy, which it compared to Nazism.