A few days ago, the Hong Kong Government refused to renew work visa for Mr Victor Mallet, Vice-Chairman of The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong and editor of the Financial Times, without a reasonable explanation. Students’ Unions of Higher Institutions strongly condemn the Hong Kong government for unreasonably suppressing press freedom.
In mid-August, The Foreign Correspondents’ Club invited the Mr Chan Ho Tin, Convenor of Hong Kong National Party, to attend a luncheon and gave a speech. Undoubtedly, the luncheon did not violate the law and was protected by Article 27 of the Basic Law as well as “The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights”. Yet, The government, the pro-establishment camp, and some “patriots” have slammed The Foreign Correspondents’ Club. Two months later, the Hong Kong Government suddenly refused to renew the work visa to Vice-Chairman of The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong. They even only issued a seven-day tourist visa instead of a half-yearly visa-free access that is granted to ordinary British citizens. Hong Kong society, the British Government, the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and the European Union all required the Hong Kong Government to give a reasonable explanation. However, The Hong Kong Government has rejected and claimed that this is an “international practice”. Since the incident involves press freedom and public interest, if Mr Victor Mallet has violated the approval criteria for work visas, Hong Kong laws or conditions of stay, the Hong Kong Government should explain clearly. Without a reasonable explanation, the refusal to renew the work visa is no difference from expelling the foreign journalist, which is obviously a political retaliation, as the government wishes to punish The Foreign Correspondents’ Club for inviting Mr Chan Ho Tin to give a public speech. Such an act is definitely the same as the usual practice of the Chinese Communist regime, which keeps suppressing the personal freedom of journalists. It also seriously trampled the press freedom in Hong Kong.
The government has been threatening Hong Kong people’s freedom of speech and freedom of expression. A report released by “The Congressional-Executive Commission on China” in the USA on 10th October 2018, stated that the Hong Kong government’s destruction of freedom of speech as well as academic freedom has intensified. However, in response to the report, the Hong Kong Government still brazenly claimed that “the freedom of speech is highly valued and is also protected by the Basic Law.” The Hong Kong Government and the Communist Party have always been contrary to what they said, which is utterly staggering.
In this regard, Students’ Unions of Higher Institutions solemnly request the Hong Kong Government to provide a reasonable explanation for not renewing the work visa for Mr Victor Mallet. Otherwise, such decision should be revoked and the government should renew the work visa for Mr Victor Mallet immediately. Press freedom is an important foundation of a civilised society, as it can enhance information flow and economic development. Hong Kong government deems Hong Kong as an international financial centre, but they cannot even accommodate a foreign journalist. They act like a dictatorial regime, which brought disgrace to Hong Kong, affecting Hong Kong’s economy and international status. The Hong Kong Government’s suppression on press freedom and freedom of speech will only ruin the future and interests of Hong Kong. For this reason, the Hong Kong government should think twice about the negative impacts brought to Hong Kong when they try to please the Communist Party by self-destructing.
City University of Hong Kong Students’ Union
Hang Seng Management College Students’ Union
Student Union of Chu Hai College of Higher Education
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Students’ Union
The Hong Kong University Students’ Union
The Interim Executive Committee of The Student Union of Hong Kong Shue Yan University
The Provisional Executive Council of the Education University Students’ Union
The Provisional Executive Committee of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Students’ Union
The Students Union of the Chinese University of Hong Kong
12th October 2018