The Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region issued a statement on Tuesday condemning the Foreign Correspondents' Club (FCC) Hong Kong for inviting a separatist to make a speech.
The following is the full text of the statement:
On 14 August 2018, the Foreign Correspondents' Club (FCC) Hong Kong blatantly invited a separatist for "Hong Kong independence" to make a speech, in disregard of the strong opposition from the Hong Kong society. We express our indignation and condemnation to such move.
Since its establishment, the Hong Kong National Party has openly advocated and incited "Hong Kong independence". The Party lays out in its platform the "abolishment of the Hong Kong Basic Law and the establishment of an independent Republic of Hong Kong", and claims to "support and participate in all kinds of effective resistance". The Party has taken a series of actions according to its plan to challenge the national security and territorial integrity, including organizing rallies for "Hong Kong independence", disseminating leaflets to primary and secondary school students and colluding with separatists outside Hong Kong. These acts have crossed the bottom line of "one country, two systems", seriously violating the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR of the People's Republic of China and the related laws in the Hong Kong SAR, and posing a grave threat to the public order and safety in Hong Kong and the rights and freedoms of other people. It is a fact known to all. The Hong Kong SAR Government has announced its consideration to ban the Party in accordance with the Societies Ordinance. The Central Government firmly supports the SAR Government in handling the related issues in accordance with the law.
Freedom of expression is fully protected by the Chinese Constitution, the Hong Kong Basic Law and related laws in Hong Kong. Yet there are bottom line and limitations for such freedom. Advocacy for "Hong Kong independence" violates the Constitution and the law. It by no means falls within the purview of free speech. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights clearly stipulates that everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression. But the exercise of the right is subject to certain restrictions: for respect of the rights or reputations of others; for the protection of national security or of public order, or of public health or morals. Countries may be different in their national conditions and laws. Yet they have all set off-limits to the freedom of expression. For example, it is absolutely prohibited to invite perpetrators of the World War II Holocaust to make open speech in France. It is totally forbidden to invite a Nazist to deliver any speech in Germany. It is also unimaginable to host a terrorist to promote his views, or to incite racial discrimination and hatred in the United States or in other countries. No country would allow any foreign institution to invite separatist forces to advocate separation or incite violent resistance on its soil. If it offers no place for racist, anti-Semitist, terrorist or Nazist, then why is the FCC openly inviting head of a separatist group to make a "Hong Kong independence" speech on the Chinese territory?
The FCC has been in Hong Kong for nearly 70 years. It must know very clearly freedom of the press is being protected in Hong Kong. The FCC should know even more clearly that freedom of the press should not be abused. As it is operating on the soil of the Hong Kong SAR of China, the club must observe the related laws and regulations of China and of the Hong Kong SAR. The FCC has committed to respecting the rule of law in Hong Kong. Yet it adopts a double standard and fails to honor words with deeds. The Security Bureau of the SAR Government is considering the banning of the Hong Kong National Party in accordance with the Societies Ordinance, and the case is in a period for representation. Under such circumstances, in inviting Andy Chan without any delay and offering him the venue to spread separatist nonsense and cause confusion among people, the FCC is openly disrupting the rule of law in Hong Kong and abusing the freedom of the press and expression. It must be pointed out that the freedom of the press is a kind of right, and more importantly a sort of responsibility. It is imperative for the press workers to uphold their professional ethics, and not to undermine other countries' sovereignty and security under the excuse of press freedom or free speech. The fact that someone is invited and hosted by the FCC is, in itself, a demonstration of the FCC's position. To argue that it takes no position while neglecting the wrong it has committed is an act of hypocrisy and self-deception.
Since modern times, China has been subject to numerous foreign invasions. The country has yet to achieve its full national reunification. Hong Kong was also under foreign occupation. The Chinese people have a deep-seated hatred towards separatism. The Chinese government has a rock-firm stand on safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity. In hosting and emboldening the Hong Kong separatists, the FCC has touched the sensitive nerves of 1.4 billion Chinese people, including over seven million Hong Kong compatriots, and greatly offended the Chinese people. To stand against "Hong Kong independence" is an issue concerning fundamental principles. The Central Government, the SAR Government and the entire Chinese people will never allow the forces for "Hong Kong independence" and the FCC Hong Kong to cross the red line.
Hong Kong is China's Hong Kong, and the FCC is not a "lawless enclave". We urge the FCC to repent and correct its wrong doing, take concrete actions to abide by the related laws of China and of the Hong Kong SAR, and respect the feelings of 1.4 billion Chinese people, including over seven million Hong Kong compatriots. Any words and deeds attempting to separate Hong Kong from the rest of China will be punished by law. Any individual or organization's move to embolden Hong Kong separatists will meet the firm opposition of the Chinese people.
HONG KONG NEWS