THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTSâ€™ CLUB
Hong Kong Protests asdf
The Media Story
CONTENTS COVER STORY
HONG KONG PROTESTS â€“ THE MEDIA STORY Twenty pages of personal reflections by members of the media on their experiences covering the months of unrest in the city; a look ahead at how the courts will cope with the flood of protest-related cases; images of protests past and present; and a timeline of FCC events as the protests unfolded. Cover image: Noel de Guzman
Message from the President
Battle to cut hospital plan down to size
Peace Hotel: Bund masterpiece still standing tall at 90
A list of new members and some of their profiles
Club News & Rejected by Harry Harrison
Timely reminder that investing in wine isnâ€™t necessarily a barrel of laughs
On The Wall
Who said what when they visited the Club
Journalist who conquered the world of jade carving in China
FROM THE PRESIDENT Dear FCC members: I wrote my first column as FCC president in early July when the protests had already been going on for several weeks. Even at that time, it was clear Hong Kong was in uncharted territory and that we were facing threats to press freedom.
That was three months ago and it seems like an age ago. The protests have expanded well past anger over the extradition bill. As clashes between the police and protesters have grown more chaotic and violent, news coverage has become increasingly complicated and dangerous. Journalists have become targets of the police, including deliberately being sprayed with tear gas and pepper spray and more recently being doused in dye and a skin irritant by water cannon. Acts of harassment of journalists have escalated, with police using blinding lights to impede coverage, blocking access and verbally harassing and intimidating reporters. Some members of the press have been victims of other physical violence. This is unacceptable. The FCC has a long tradition of upholding press freedom near and far, especially in our own backyard. We have a duty to speak up and have done so. We have sought to be a voice for media freedom as well as a centre for training, discussion and support for our community in this summer – and now autumn – of protest. As the timeline included in this issue shows, we have been raising our voice in statements supporting the right under Hong Kong law to cover the protests free of violence and intimidation. We have consistently called for an independent investigation into violence against journalists and any limits to coverage. We have held silent protests outside the club to underscore and bring awareness to these demands. We will not cease to pressure authorities on these issues. Yet we are going further in terms of taking action. Under the leadership of the Professional and Press Freedom committees, we have held a series of training sessions to help the media better cover the protests and more fully understand the issues. We opened these sessions to the entire community. They focused on safety, legal and technological issues, and discussions of covering suicide and first aid. The club has held several lunch panels with journalists and organizers on the front lines of the protests. We have live-streamed most of the sessions and compiled them – along with
PH OTO: MA Y JA MES
I wrote then about how we as a club were reacting. We had begun calling on Hong Kong officials to ensure that the right of the media to cover protests free of intimidation and violence was respected. And we were planning panels and other training events to help journalists cover the protests. background information and resource guides – into an online video resource. The FCC also has become a centre of discussion. With the backing of the Membership Committee, we have encouraged journalists visiting Hong Kong to become temporary members and offered them work space, and our support. And the club has deepened ties with other journalism groups, most notably the Hong Kong Journalists Association, welcoming them at our training sessions and publicizing their press freedom efforts. Also, the club had a visually arresting exhibition, which the Wall Committee put together in record time, called Hong Kong Protests – Past and Present. Though our exhibits have since changed, we are dedicating wall space to continued visual coverage of the protests, and welcome submissions.
The summer of discontent has turned into an autumn of anger and battles on the streets of Hong Kong. There is a great deal of uncertainty. The club will continue to be a steadfast voice for press freedom and will take action to support that goal. Suggestions of speakers and workshops, and ways we can further our press freedom message, are welcomed from members. We also need to support each other at a difficult time in our community and to financially back the club by holding events here. Our GM, Didier Saugy, and the staff have worked tirelessly to keep the club open as much as possible. We’ve been holding special wine and champagne tastings and several theme dinners will be coming up. Please consider attending, and bring your guests to the club. I am gratified by the support the FCC community has shown the board, committees and staff in these past months. Please continue to let us hear from you. It’s more important than ever that members get involved. Jodi Schneider Hong Kong October 2019
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The Foreign Correspondents’ Club 2 Lower Albert Road Central, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2521 1511 Fax: (852) 2868 4092 Email: email@example.com Website: www.fcchk.org
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS’ CLUB HONG KONG
EDITORIAL Putting together this issue of The Correspondent has been an eye-opening process, and I hope you find the result an interesting read. When you ask 20 people for their personal “take” on something as complicated as Hong Kong’s protests, the first thing you have to do is put your own viewpoint aside. The people I was asking are reporters and photographers (plus one lawyer) who are out on the streets day in, day out, trying to make sense of the chaotic and often dangerous scenes they are witnessing. Back came their replies, and Hong Kong Protests – The Media Story (p14 onwards) was born, reflections from a broad range of personalities and nationalities. As the words kept coming, I dropped other submissions to make space. My thanks to FCC member Jane Moir for reminding me that in the wake of protests come the inevitable court cases, and her insights as a lawyer and journalist into the city’s courts system (pp28-29) is a fascinating read. As a final touch, publisher Noel de Guzman and I drew up a timeline (pp3233) which shows a calendar of the protests and what the FCC did in response – a programme of workshops, lunch panels and statements already mentioned by President Jodi Schneider. In the end, all this took 20 pages but that still left room for an anniversary – the 90th birthday of Shanghai’s Peace Hotel. Jonathan Sharp was there for a walk down memory lane and to report on the celebrations and tell a bit about its unusual and star-studded history (pp36-37). The Last Word (p48) this time around goes to Kate Whitehead and her interview with a former journalist who has broken into the closed world of Chinese jade carvers. He takes his raw material and chips away until a new shape emerges. It could almost be seen as a metaphor.
The Board of Governors 2019-2020 President Jodi Schneider First Vice-President Eric Wishart Second Vice-President Tim Huxley Correspondent Member Governors Emma Clark, Jennifer Hughes, Richard Macauley, Shibani Mahtani, Keith Richburg, Kristine Servando, Dan Strumpf Journalist Member Governors Clifford Buddle, Adam White Associate Member Governors Genavieve Alexander, Kin-ming Liu, Simon Pritchard, Christopher Slaughter Club Treasurer Tim Huxley Club Secretary Jennifer Hughes Professional Committee Convenors: Eric Wishart, Keith Richburg, Kristine Servando Finance Committee Conveners: Tim Huxley (Treasurer), Jennifer Hughes, Kin-ming Liu Constitutional Committee Conveners: Cliff Buddle, Kin-ming Liu Membership Committee Conveners: Simon Pritchard, Kristine Servando House/Food and Beverage Committee Conveners: Adam White, Genavieve Alexander, Richard Macauley, Building - Project and Maintenance Committee Conveners: Christopher Slaughter, Keith Richburg, Simon Pritchard Press Freedom Committee Conveners: Eric Wishart, Emma Clark, Dan Strumpf Communications Committee Conveners: Genavieve Alexander Wall Committee Conveners: Shibani Mahtani, Christopher Slaughter, Adam White General Manager Didier Saugy Editor, The Correspondent Sue Brattle Publisher: Artmazing! Tel: 9128 8949 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Printing Elite Printing, Tel: 2558 0119 Advertising Contact FCC Front Office: Tel: 2521 1511 The Correspondent ©2019 The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong The Correspondent is published four times a year. Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of the club.
HURRY! BOOK YOUR CHRISTMAS PARTY NOW All rooms except the Main Bar & Lounge are available for private bookings. Please email email@example.com or call on
MEMBERSHIP Who’s joined the Club, who’s leaving and who’s turned silver! This is the column to read.
Welcome to New Members Correspondents • Jeffrey Goldfarb, Asia Editor, Reuters Breakingviews, Thomson Reuters • Emiri Yamamoto, Head of Asia TV, Bloomberg • Cathy Yap, Anchor CBN News Channel, ABS-CBN News • Graham Gaston, News Operations Manager, Bloomberg • Paul Geitner, Editor, Bloomberg Journalists • Caroline Jones, Managing Editor, Sassy Media Group • Wai Kong Fung, Consulting Editor, Hong Kong Economic Journal • May James, Freelancer • Didier Pujol, Editor-in-Chief, Le Petit Journal Hong Kong Associates • Sung Wan Park, Managing Director, Jefferies HK Ltd • Kin Fung Ng, Vice-President, Nomura International (Hong Kong) Ltd • Vijay D’Souza, Director, Citigroup Global Markets Asia Ltd • James Campbell, Retired • Daniel Chinoy, Self-Employed • Prashant Gokale, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Aletheia Capital • Chun Wei Cheung, Non-Executive Chairman, Tesco Dental (Hong Kong) Ltd • David Palmer, Chief Executive Officer, Wah Kwong Maritime Agency Company Ltd • Shuk Tak Tang, Executive Director, The Better Hong Kong Foundation • George Doyle, Director, Ferrier Chan & Partners • Marco Foehn, Senior School Advisor, UEF Group • Ching Fang Hu, Freelancer • Sean Coleman, Senior Software Engineer, World First Ltd • Shauna Alexander, Director, Alexander Turner Associates Ltd • Christopher Morley, Partner, Morley Chow Seto • Janice Cheung, Clinical Assistant Professor, The University of Hong Kong, • Divya Sahney, Founder, Hi Didi Ltd • Becky Cho, Senior Director, Corporate Affairs, Apac, VF Corporation • Ka Lun Lung, Governor, Path of Democracy • John Norris, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Quintain Analytics • Etienne Maccario, Senior Vice-President, Technology, SCMP • Yildiz Choi, Partner, Darin Leung & Partners, Solicitors • Bruce Yung, Founder and Managing Director, BVB Group Ltd • Philipp Koether, Managing Director, Cabot Grouop • Boris Koch, Vice-President Finance, Hasbro Far East Ltd • Michael Weekes, Commercial Contracts Manager, Systra
• Edward Noble, Senior Director, Jones Lang LaSalle Ltd • Kathy Chan, Co-Founder and Chief Consultant, Public Communication Strategic Consultancy Ltd • Jenny Pu, Consultant of Neurosurgery, Queen Mary Hospital • Benjamin Richardson, Partner, Finsbury • Virginia Siu, Senior Interior Designer, Wheelock Properties Ltd • Wai Ting Choy, Managing Director, China Renaissance Securities (HK) Ltd Diplomatic • Siddarth Tiwari, Chief Representative, Bank for International Settlements Diplomatic Replacements • Kenneth Lim, Vice-Consul, Consulate-General of the Republic of Singapore in Hong Kong • Suzanne Passmore, Vice-Consul, Political/Economic, Australian Consulate-General, Hong Kong • Jacqueline Deley, Public Affairs Director, Consulate-General of the United States of America Corporate Replacements • Karen Khaw, Head of Corporate Communications, Barclays Capital Asia Ltd • Jeremy Custance, Director of Corporate Communications, Philip Morris Asia Ltd
On to Pastures New Au revoir to those members leaving Hong Kong who have become Absent Members: Correspondents • Chiara Caratti di Valfrei, Photo Editor, Cosmopolitan Italy • Benjamin Scent, Team Leader, Bloomberg • Andrew Marszal, Correspondent, AFP • Robert McBride, Freelancer • Paul Panckhurst, Editor, Bloomberg • Sarah Stewart, Deputy Editor-in-Chief for Asia, AFP • Andrew Davis, Editor, Bloomberg • Chester Yung, Staff Reporter, The Wall Street Journal Associates • Evelyn Chan, Teaching Associate/Lecturer, Vocational Training Council • Stephen Layton, Founder, The Layton Group • Edward Dutton, Partner, Debevoise and Plimpton LLP
• Simon Murray, Chairman, General Enterprise Management • Stephen Hunt, Chief Operating Officer, Cathay International Group • Paul Haley, Advisor/Consultant, Human Applications Ltd • Jacob Eapen, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Technologies Tele Media • Nia Pryde, Clinical Psychologist & Psychotherapist • Kendal Richardson, Managing Director, LFR Executive Search Ltd • Nicholas Seddon, Director, Seddon & Co Ltd • Julian Marland, Development Director, West Kowloon Cultural District • James Hughes, Chief Executive Officer, Buchanan Capital Ltd
Resigning Correspondents • Saumya Vaishampayan, Reporter, The Wall Street Journal • Georgina Lee, Reporter, Haymarket Media Ltd
Despatched We are extremely sad to announce the death of: Associate • Ashok Khemaney, Managing Director, A R Trading Co Ltd
Category Changes Journalist to Correspondent • Morgan M Davis Associate to Silver Journalist • Felix Cheung, Racing Writer Associate to Silver Associate • Simon Clennell
Journalists • Mark Jones, Editorial Director, Cedar Hong Kong • Raymond Cheng, Deputy Managing Editor, SCMP Associates • David Braga, Principal, David Braga Dentistry • Howard Jones, General Manager, Ogilvy PR • Philip Law, Director, Union Apparel International Ltd • Timothy Stain, First Officer, Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd Corporate • Shivanandan Dalvie, Managing Director, AEA Investors Asia Ltd Diplomatic • Reto Renggli, Consul General, Consulate-General of Switzerland Hong Kong
Welcome Back To Journalists • Po Chih Leong, Retired • Peter Lloyd, Editor, Positive News Associates • Roderick Mackenzie, Executive Director, Lei Garden Restaurant Group • Elizabeth Case, Retired • Howard Clark-Burton, Chief Executive Officer, BMP Wealth Ltd • Richard Ward, Chairman, Ward Associates Asia Ltd
A huge advantage of being a member of the FCC is being able to use clubs around the world. If you are visiting Australia and New Zealand there are clubs in most major cities. In North America there are clubs across Canada and the USA. For those of you heading to Europe there are clubs in Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Malta, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Across Asia in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. In Africa we only have one club so far The Wanderers Club in Johannesburg. And now, in the Middle East, we have the Capital Club Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Most of these clubs provide dining, work and recreational facilities but some offer accommodation too, such as The Colombo Swimming Club in Sri Lanka, the Hollandse Club in Singapore, The Launceston Club in Tasmania, the Terminal City Club in Vancouver, the Bellevue Club in Washington and the Devonshire Club in London. So when you are planning a trip be sure to take a look at the list on our website of partner clubs – under the Membership tab scroll down to Partner Clubs (www. fcchk.org/partner-clubs-3) – to see what facilities each club has to offer and take full advantage of your membership whilst you are travelling. PLEASE NOTE: To use our partner/reciprocal clubs many require an introduction card which you can get from the Club’s office, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org.
INTRODUCING... NEW MEMBERS
The latest group of members to join the FCC is, as always, an interesting bunch. The membership committee meets regularly to go through applications and is always impressed by the diversity of people who want to join the Club. May James After 15 years working with local education, raising two beautiful daughters and running a partner’s business, the time came to pick up my passion for photography where I left it 20 years ago. I have great appreciation for friends, colleagues, clients and family who have supported and trusted me and given me the confidence and opportunities to reenter the photography world. At first capturing sporting activities, including HK 7s for SCMP, then my first exhibition in 2017, Space and Time - Hong Kong Images. Now, among many, I wear a hardhat at the frontlines documenting the recent Hong Kong protests, frequently appearing in HKFP. Kevin Ng I’m an investment banker by day, musician by night. Born and raised in Hong Kong, I studied economics in the U.S. and classical music in Berlin, Germany. Outside of my day job, I am a classical clarinetist and perform regularly with our orchestra and chamber music groups in Hong Kong and abroad. In my free time, I like cooking for my friends and travelling to new places. I always love a good glass of wine or Scotch – I will accept any recommendations. Caroline Jones I’m Sassy Media Group’s Managing Editor. I originally came to Hong Kong six years ago to work for Bloomberg as a TV News Producer. Before that I worked as a Senior Producer for Sky News. I grew up in Bangor in Northern Ireland and, despite having lived in Dublin, Moscow, London and Hong Kong over the past two decades, my accent never seems to get any softer! I’ve always loved the arts and spent many years treading the boards for local drama groups, once picking up a Best Comedienne award from the Association of Irish Musical Societies. Kenji Cheung After finishing my civil engineering degree in HKUST, I started my career in my family business, which is trading dental products in China and Hong Kong. In 2016, I pursued my passion and opened the menswear store Bryceland’s with my business partner Ethan Newton in Tokyo, and then opened a second store in Stanley
Street, Hong Kong. My hobbies are collecting vintage clothing and items, and my favourite sport is table tennis. Siddharth Tiwari I head the Bank for International Settlements Office for Asia and the Pacific and moved to Hong Kong last November. At heart, I am a traveller seeking new environments and challenges. In the past, I have called many places my home: New Delhi, Bangkok, London, Chicago, Washington DC, Moscow, and Singapore. In my career in economics and public policy, I have worked in nearly 85 countries around the globe. These travels have fostered a deep interest in food, music, and art. I am also an avid fan of cricket, soccer, and baseball. My wife, Bonnie, joins me in this exploration. Marco Foehn I arrived in Hong Kong in the early 1980s and worked as a banker for 20 years. Throughout my stay in Hong Kong, I served on various boards, from the HK Financial Markets Association to International School Boards and HK Country Club, and have always had a keen interest in serving the public at large. From 2011-17 I was Chief Operating Officer of the German Swiss International School (GSIS). I particularly adore Hong Kong’s beautiful countryside. Back in 2007, I bought WalkHK and employ eight guides showing tourists the beauty of Hong Kong. Fung Wai Kong (Lo Fung) To learn something new is always a challenge. To learn a new “language” in midlife is a daunting task. Yet, I decided to learn to play the saxophone at the age of 50. It was almost mission impossible for me, especially for the first year. But when you get everything right, you no longer hear just individual notes but the sound of music. That can be very rewarding. I am Consulting Editor for the Hong Kong Economic Journal and when I get stuck in my writing, I sometimes play the saxophone to relax. I may need a new pair of glasses soon as the notes seem a bit blurred lately. Divya Sahney After a short stint as a reluctant banker in New York, I moved into advertising. As a strategic planner I developed campaigns for everything from Maltesers to the UK government. I then did freelance work on Brand India and
helped women entrepreneurs. This took me from New York to London and now to Hong Kong. Along the way, my husband and I had two children and acquired a dog. The desire to give back to my country – and I guess the guilt of being an expatriate – led me to set up Hi Didi, an online peer mentoring programme for underprivileged girls in India. Becky Cho I am a Hong Kong native who has recently returned after more than two decades away, having accepted an opportunity from VF Corporation to join my fellow corporate affairs community in Asia Pacific. I’m a corporate social responsibility enthusiast and am particularly interested in playing an active role in sustainability through story-telling and partnerships with NGOs and think tanks. I first came to the FCC in the late ’80s and having lived and worked in Toronto, Taipei, Chicago and Shanghai since the ’90s, it is great to be calling Hong Kong home again. Alan Lung I was born and educated locally, later attending the University of Wisconsin in the U.S. and Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada. I chaired the Hong Kong Democratic Foundation, a political think tank (founded by Jimmy McGregor in 1989) from 1997 to 2014. I am a member of Chatham House, an international think tank. I am also a board member of Path of Democracy, a think tank founded by Ronny Tong in 2015 and am involved in managing a technology start-up incubated by the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park and Youth Innovation and Entrepreneur Hub in Shenzhen. John Norris This is my second stint living in Hong Kong; the first was aged five, for three years, and I’ve always wanted to come back. After time in London, Zurich then Sydney, my wife and I moved here 12 years ago. Our three children were born here and we all see it as home. I’m a keen rugby player and played in Hong Kong until a serious injury stopped me. I’m still involved in the game and having managed a senior side, I now coach my children’s teams. Three years ago I took the leap into entrepreneurship as cofounder and COO of a data analytics company. Yildiz Choi Born and raised in Hong Kong, I consider myself a lucky girl who enjoyed the political stability and economic prosperity which allowed me to set up my own legal practice 22 years ago. Life is about seeking happiness. To me, happiness is good health and friends with shared values,
plus seeing my two naughty pooches fighting. My beloved Hong Kong is now in times of turbulence and confusion. I hope that all people can gather more wisdom and walk hand-in-hand through this dark time. Bruce Yung I was born in Hong Kong and educated in the UK (PhD in Chemical Engineering). I returned to Hong Kong with my wife and daughter from London in 1996. At a time when Hongkongers were thinking about leaving, we came back! I have since lived and worked in Beijing and Shanghai for oil and renewable energy companies, including BP and First Solar. I now work with like-minded colleagues in setting up a private equity fund to invest in energy start-ups. I like theatre, travelling and the gym. Cathy Yang Delighted to be a returnee at the FCC. After living and working in Hong Kong for over 11 years – from covering the SARs outbreak all the way to the Occupy Central protests (and everything else in between) – I truly believe Hong Kong will always be my favourite city outside my native home, Manila, Philippines. As Anchor-Managing Editor of the ABSCBN News Channel’s financial news programme, I travel for work, and am often in Hong Kong. As a former member of the F&B committee, I am thrilled at finding value-for-money drinks offerings on the menu. Graham Gaston I am a proud Ohio University alum (anybody else?) and was president of the 6,000 strong Metro NY Bobcat alumni group for seven years. I’ve worked at Al Jazeera, AP, ABC News, ESPN, NBC, and now Bloomberg. All over the place, mostly in TV operations. Even a stint in reality TV. I know, gross – don’t ask! I’m very happy to be living in Hong Kong – my first time in Asia, and my first overseas gig. If you’d like to talk baseball, Brooklyn, or bowling, let me know. Also, I wouldn’t mind finding some other Bobcats or Team in Training alum! Jenny Pu I am the President of the Hong Kong Neuro-oncology Society and the Chairman of the PVW Brain Tumour Foundation, raising public awareness of brain tumour and providing financial support to patients with brain tumour. Technically, I am the first female Hongkonger neurosurgeon; a Consultant in the Department of Neurosurgery at the Queen Mary Hospital, sub-specializing in neuro-oncology and skull-base surgery. I am also an Honorary Associate Professor at the Department of Surgery, University of Hong Kong, and a trainer for the Higher Neurosurgical Training at the College of Surgeons Hong Kong. I am the editor of the Molecular Biology Section of the World Neurosurgery Academic Journal.
incent Yu’s HKG Wall exhibition was opened in the Main Bar on July 4, giving members and guests a chance to see images from his 1998 book of the same name. An Associated Press photographer since the 1980s, Vincent’s images are now collected by the Hong Kong Heritage Museum as an important chronicle of community and social life in Hong Kong. His book was updated with a 20th anniversary edition. Vincent Yu with the Club’s Robin Moyer and guests
Victory for The Yorkshire Puddings
Florence’s publishing triumph
he Club’s final Quiz Night of Season 7 was held on July 17, with The Yorkshire Puddings (pictured) being named champions. Congratulations to the Puddings. The event is now up-and-running again, for Season 8. Andy Chworowsky had been setting the questions since quiz-whiz Marilyn Hood passed away, then June and July’s events were set by guest contributor WWF-HK. Andy said: “In June’s quiz, we learned that each of us, on average, consumes the equivalent of one credit card per month in micro plastics. So, quit buying drinks in single-use plastic bottles!”
ormer FCC President Florence de Changy was celebrating on September 12, when HarperCollins Publishers announced they had acquired World all language rights (excluding French and Chinese) for her book The Disappearing Act. On 8 March 2014, 239 passengers boarded flight MH-370 from Kuala Lumpur to Bejing. The plane vanished into thin air 38 minutes after take-off, and during Florence’s investigation into the mystery she contacted many people too scared to go on the record. Florence says: “It seemed essential to shed light on this enigma, not just as a journalist’s duty but also for the families of the 239 passengers on board the MH-370, and the hundreds of thousands of people who fly commercially every year.” The book will be published next May.
Students get tour of the Club
tudents from the University of Hong Kong were given a tour of the Club to get an insight into the life of a correspondent. The 19 students, pictured with general manager Didier Saugy and other members of staff, are studying international news at the HKU Summer Institute.
FCC hosts second vegan dinner
egan chef Heinz Egli and the Club’s executive chef Johnny Ma joined forces for a second Vegan Dinner in the Main Dining Room on July 25. The first, held to celebrate Veganuary on January 25, proved a hit with members keen to learn about vegan dishes and organic wines.
Right time, right place
ong-time FCC member, the late Walter Kent, will be remembered for his punctual time-keeping now that part of his bequest to the Club has been put in its rightful place, at the Ice House Street end of the Main Bar. It was Walter’s favourite drinking spot and an obvious choice as the permanent home of the Jaeger-LeCoultre clock that Walter, who died in 2016, received as a 25th anniversary gift for working at Chase Manhattan Bank. “It is a fitting memorial for one of the FCC’s most loyal recent members,” said John Batten (pictured right being helped by Carsten Schael) when they fixed the clock to the Main Bar in August.
ou’ll be pleased to know that staff at the Club, led by General Manager Didier Saugy, underwent Building Fire Safety Training on August 7. As the picture shows, they’ve got the certificates to prove it. Well done, everyone.
More than 20 Eastern European wines were up for tasting at the wine social held on September 9 to select the upcoming Wine of the Month. Members will have noticed the results, with wines from Georgia, Czech Republic and Hungary now available at the Club until mid-November.
Past and Present
he timely launch of the new Wall exhibition took place with cocktails in the Main Bar on August 8. Hong Kong Protests – Past and Present, featured current photographs by Birdy Chu (pictured second right with the Club’s Christopher Slaughter, Robin Moyer and President Jodi Schneider) and protest images from the FCC’s archive.
Swiss treat a taste of home for Didier
ur Swiss General Manager Didier Saugy felt very much at home on August 22 when he oversaw a Swiss Dinner which included some of his nation’s signature dishes, such as cervelat salad, Zurich style shredded veal loin and Aelpermagrone (macaroni cheese with an apple compote). Pictured are Didier with Club President Jodi Schneider, Andreas Rufer, Deputy Consul General of Switzerland in Hong Kong, and his friend Bruce Chang.
Jolly good Fellows
he September 20 Induction Ceremony for new members was a special occasion, with the first-ever Clare Hollingworth Fellows being welcomed to the Club by President Jodi Schneider. Jessie Pang (left) and Mary Hui are already familiar faces around the FCC, and we all wish them well for their very special year.
Baby joy e are pleased to announce that the Club’s Board Executive Secretary Joanne Chung gave birth to a lovely baby boy weighing 3.59kg on September 3. Joanne and baby Lucas are both doing well. Our congratulations, and we hope to bring you a photograph in the next issue of The Correspondent.
Steering through change
rnest Bower, Founder & CEO of BowerGroup Asia, spoke on How The China-U.S. Trade Dynamic Impacts Investment and Supply Chains in Asia at a Club breakfast on August 7. He gave an overview of the regional dynamics at play, how countries have responded to these challenges and how individual companies can navigate the resulting and changing environment.
Reflections on China
rofessor Yan Xiaojun, Associate Professor in Politics and Public Administration at the University of Hong Kong, reflected on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China at a Club lunch on October 3. He addressed, among other topics, what is the essence of the One Country, Two Systems policy and in what way is it relevant to Chinaâ€™s future?
HONG KONG PROTESTS | THE MEDIA STORY
REFLECTIONS FROM THE FRONT LINE The Correspondent invited reporters and photographers to have their say about witnessing months of protests in Hong Kong. Only one person declined, with a good reason. He told me his continuous 18-hour days left him no time for reflection. Others replied in their own individual way, with stories of injury, exhaustion, conflicted emotions and obvious career opportunities. Some stories are moving, some are troubling, and they are all enlightening. I thank everyone for their contribution and hope you stay safe however this story unfolds. Sue Brattle, Editor
LESSONS LEARNED WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN Abhishyant Kidangoor is Associate Video Producer at TIME magazine, Hong Kong
hen I look back on the past few months, two moments stand out to me. One was when I realised the gravity of the story that I had the chance to cover, and another that changed my perspective and helped me learn an important lesson in journalism. The first three weeks of covering the story as a video journalist were thrilling, as it would have been for any journalist with just a few years of work experience. It was on June 21, when protesters laid siege to the police headquarters in Wan Chai, that I realised the enormity of the issue. Standing by the HQ and observing the sea of protesters singing, chanting slogans and waving their cellphone lights was as surreal as it could get. For me, it was the first of many instances where I realised that this wasn’t going to be a short-lived problem. In the weeks that followed, incessant calls from friends and family were dismissed as paranoia. After all, what more could a journalist ask for than to be in the middle of one of the biggest international stories of the year? But reality hit hard exactly a month after. It turned personal when protests came closer to where I live. Tear gas and petrol bombs were being fired right at my doorstep. Earlier, I could go back home after a day of covering the protests; now I could see the city descend into chaos right from my rooftop. Walking past graffiti sprayed by protesters and seeing police vans pulling up right outside my building was an eye-opening experience that pulled me out of my journalist bubble. I moved here for work and can flee to the safety of my home country whenever I wish. But for thousands of others, fighting on both sides, this is the home that they love. It opened my eyes to the fact that I have never had to fight for my home. For me, the Hong Kong protests is a story and I get the chance to move on to the next assignment. But for many others, it’s the uncertain future of their home and life. The empathy that I developed out of this realisation has been the most invaluable experience in my short career as a journalist.
WHEN YOUR HOME BECOMES A CONFLICT ZONE
PHOTO: ABHISHYANT KIDANGOOR
Jessie Pang, Correspondent, Reuters, and FCC Clare Hollingworth Fellow
aspired to be a foreign war correspondent, but then my home became a conflict zone. As I covered the upheaval this year, I struggled with what it means to be a reporter and a Hongkonger at the same time. With one eye, I see things as a journalist; dispassionate, concerned only with facts. Yet with the other eye, I see things as a Hongkonger, torn with raw emotion as I see my people suffer. Reconciling these two personas sometimes feels like denying myself an identity, but things move fast and I have to keep the film rolling. The news isn’t about me, and it’s not my place to decide Hong Kong’s political fate nor to make a judgment. My job isn’t to stir action in a certain direction or to slander those who I believe are wrong. No, my job is to expose and to pursue the truth impartially. To show the world the complexities and beauty of our city, from all sides. The streets aren’t filled with enemies, yellow or otherwise, nor objects to be beaten or treated as targets of hate, but humans deserving of protections, rights, prosperity and love. Because behind every face there is a human being with a story. And it is my calling to pierce the veil and tell a story, their story, and let them say: “I am human and this is the world as I see it.”
HONG KONG PROTESTS | THE MEDIA STORY
‘I RETURNED HOME SAFE TO MY WIFE’ Phila Siu Chi-yui, Senior Reporter, South China Morning Post. Phila’s wife gave birth to a “beautiful daughter” a few days before he wrote this very moving reflection.
y heavily pregnant wife broke down in tears when she saw me packing my full-face mask, helmet and press vest into my backpack one day in July before I headed out the door. I was about to cover a protest. “Why do you have to carry this gear with you every day?” she asked me, her right hand holding her belly. I tried to comfort her. I promised her I would return home safe and that she had to eat her meals so our daughter would be born healthy and strong. I do not remember if I cried with her at that time, but I had done so numerous times before that, for all the stunningly shocking events that have taken place since June. As promised, I returned home safe to my wife that day, as I did every other time I was sent out onto the tear gas-filled streets to report on the biggest crisis I have ever witnessed in my home, Hong Kong. I have been a journalist for about 10 years. I hardly consider myself a veteran, but I thought I had already seen much in my career and I had covered the Occupy protests of 2014. Back then, an editor told me that I
must treasure every chance I had covering the movement, as that might be the biggest news we would ever report on in Hong Kong. We were all wrong. And so, there I was, out on the streets, with police firing tear gas, rubber bullets and beanbag rounds on one side, and protesters throwing petrol bombs and bricks on the other. My wife, meanwhile, was sitting on our sofa at home, wondering whether her husband would emerge from it all unscathed. Whenever I had a chance, I would text or call her to tell her I was fine. She stayed up to wait for me, no matter how late I got home. During these past months, I must confess there were times I wondered about my job, being out there on the streets. I saw people getting beaten up and my first instinct was to take photos and videos, instead of separating them. Minutes later, I would send information back to the newsroom for the live blog we were running for our readers around the world, and move on to the next scene. One day, when I was covering a protest in North Point, three antiprotest men were spotted on a slope
holding knives. Some residents warned everyone not to get close but our first reaction as journalists was to rush up to take photos. We took a few steps forward and they kicked two cans of suspected petrol on the ground. When the police finally took the thugs into their vehicle, the realisation of the purpose of my job hit me: I was there to make sure the “first draft of history” was accurate, and that the whole world understood what was happening in Hong Kong. While I might not be able to stop a disaster from happening at the scene, journalism does not stop me from doing something human, from communicating to others the facts on the ground. That night, I moved on to Yuen Long and got home just past midnight. My wife was waiting. I took a shower and soaked my clothes and protective gear in disinfectant. I knocked on our bedroom door and told her she could finally come out to the living room to give me a hug. She came out with a ready smile on her face. It was at that moment that I knew, I just knew, there was nowhere else like home. THE CORRESPONDENT
New father: Phila with his wife Kanas Chiu and daughter Siu Lok-yiu
‘WE’RE WATCHING, WHETHER THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING OR NOT’ Selma Masood is Principal of SM & Co Solicitors and a convenor for HKNLOG
he city I have called home for the past 41 years, and the city I love, seems somewhat distorted at the moment – a little less focused, a bit lost in time. Recent incidents during the demonstrations and other related public gatherings in Hong Kong have raised questions about the city’s rule of law, the enforcement of the law and the administration of justice. The most popular option for combating the political apocalypse appears to be griping about it on social media to other people who already feel the same way. But it struck me that we, as lawyers, might have more to offer. So I, together with a group of senior Hong Kong Lawyers, formed the Hong Kong Neutral Legal Observers Group (HKNLOG) to try and observe what is really happening. It might seem unnecessary in the days of smartphone cameras but that second set of eyes serving as a witness, acting as a neutral party, may be comforting to those on the ground. I have attended most, if not all the public gatherings over the summer. Being present in the front lines means some risk of being subjected to tear gas and pepper spray. I attend protests clad in my green high visibility vest, hard hat, goggles and gas mask, armed with a notepad, camera
Lawyers in green high-visibility vests observe a march
and smartphone to document what happens between protesters and the police. I believe that legal observers provide a calming effect for both sides. Everyone knows there’s someone there watching as a neutral force and it is a good presence to have at a protest. Protests have been largely peaceful, although they have escalated quite dramatically which is a cause for concern and leaves me anxious. Some of the issues I have observed relate to criminal damage and vandalism, potential interference with constitutional rights of public assembly, and the widespread use of stop and search. I have also observed the throwing of objects, setting of fires and the deployment of water cannon vehicles. I have witnessed physical violence and the use of excessive force,
coming from both sides of the political spectrum, as well as the use of force against the public. What has moved me the most over the past months is the resilience of the Hong Kong people, from all walks of life, from all professions and of all ages. Hongkongers are truly creative – where else in the world would you see flashmob singalongs, laser pen shows, human chains, online crowdfunding campaigns, Lennon walls, 10pm chantings, mooncakes sporting popular protest slogans on their crusts, protest art, flags and the “be water” slogan? I hope the picture of this magnificent city becomes refocused. I miss the city of lights, the entrepreneurial energy that makes Hong Kong so special. I’m confident we’ll find our way. If any city has the capability to rebound, Hong Kong can.
CALMING INFLUENCE OF NEUTRAL LAWYERS STANDING BY
PHOTOS: SUPPLIED & HKNLOG
he Hong Kong Neutral Legal Observers Group (HKNLOG) was formed in early August. The founding members felt there was a need for neutral observers to attend public gatherings to observe what was happening and to help maintain the rule of law in Hong Kong. HKNLOG is a politically neutral organization, whose membership is open to all members of the Hong Kong legal profession regardless of their political inclinations or affiliations, subject to agreement that when they represent HKNLOG they remain neutral and impartial. It takes no position on the “five
demands” and instead aims to look at events through a legal, rather than political, lens. It currently has around 50 members, including partners of international and local law firms, junior and senior counsel, and inhouse lawyers in companies and financial institutions. In relation to the rule of law, HKNLOG is not neutral, and considers it has an obligation to promote and uphold the rule of law. Its members observe and record what they see and in particular any potential infringements of law, in order to gain a balanced perspective of what is taking place in Hong Kong.
These observations then form the basis for free seminars to educate members of the public on their legal rights and obligations and for periodic public reports on what the group is observing and related legal issues. HKNLOG plans to issue the first of its public reports shortly. It also hopes that the presence of lawyers might serve as a reminder of how important it is for both sides to respect the law and the rule of law. *Further information about HKNLOG is available at www. facebook.com/legalobservers/ or email: legalobserversgroup@gmail. com OCTOBER 2019
HONG KONG PROTESTS | THE MEDIA STORY
‘I WANT TO BE CANDID ABOUT HOW WE’RE ALL FEELING’ Christy Choi is a freelance executive producer and presenter with Reuters. She has covered the protests for The Guardian and The Telegraph, and has also worked with Bloomberg, the SCMP, the LA Times and German wire service dpa
welve to 14-hour days. Fifteen weekends of work. Tear gas, rubber bullets, smashed glass, burning barricades, people beaten and people beating. Group chats, live streams, witnessing in person, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, LIHKG, email, conversations with friends, family, strangers. There’s a toll from this bombardment. I’ve been watching the press corps fray at the edges for weeks now, everyone struggling to keep up with the news as the protesters “be water”, deluged under the sheer amount of information and misinformation being peddled out there, unable to switch off from the traumatic scenes, but also spurred on by some beautiful hopeful moments. But how much can we do if we burn out? What do we do when our fight or flight responses are so constantly switched on in a form of PTSD that we see threats everywhere? Can we really make good judgment calls in the middle of all this? And yet this is something that
we confess rarely. Sometimes I get messages, calls, whispers asking: “How do you do it so effortlessly, how are you so tireless, and bold?” I don’t, and I’m not. It seems effortless when all you see is the result. I don’t seem tired, because when you see my bylines you’re not seeing the bags under my eyes, feeling the tension in my muscles, listening to the stream of information going through my head. I seem fearless, because calm is how I react in an emergency. Super-calm under pressure, my instinct is to snap into problem-solving mode, but I inevitably pay for it weeks later when I get run down and sick, and I don’t realise the pressure has reached an unsustainable level. I want to address this, to be candid about how we’re all feeling: We are not tireless, what we do is not effortless, and we are scared. We’re human. We need to have time with our loved ones, we need to have moments when we feel safe, when we’re allowed
Christy Choi says ‘right now I’m glad to be on vacation’
to switch off. I haven’t been able to do that enough for four months and I feel the toll. I’m cranky, I feel like I’m being a bad friend, a bad daughter, and at times even a bad journalist, because I don’t feel as sharp as I should be and am normally. I feel like I’m often reacting, and that all I want is to be able to step back and take a long hard look at what’s going on. And so right now I’m glad to be on vacation. It’s only now in New York that I finally feel able to switch off. Like my head and heart are being given the space, the distance for some measure of reflection to happen. This morning I spent time getting my nephew ready for school, listening to him chatter about his taekwondo practice, and getting in some serious cuddle time. And it’s in this space I’m finding a renewed sense of direction. I’m less tired, and am nourished by the beautiful, ordinary moments of life. Buoyed by the silliness of my nephew, his ingenuity and curious excitement about the world. Reminded of why I became a journalist in the first place. That curiosity, that wish to explore the world, to see things many ways. And so I leave you all with this image of us both in the bathroom, playing around with the mirrored cabinets, the doors brought together at an angle where our faces are reflected in an infinite loop of faces, laughing, and playfully asking which of those are the true us. I hope it nourishes you as much as it does me.
‘PEOPLE HAVE BEEN OPENING UP LIKE NEVER BEFORE’ Florence de Changy is the Hong Kong correspondent of Le Monde and Radio France International (RFI), and a former President of the FCC
Florence de Changy interviewing frontline protestors in Causeway Bay
eep safe and take care!” How many times have friends from abroad told me this over the course of the last three months? TV footage, including impressive but very short-lived bonfires being played on a loop in living rooms around the world, coupled with dramatic pictures of a city blurred in the fog of tear gas, may make it look like a warzone from far away. What we have in fact been covering would be better described as an acute
political crisis coupled with on-going protests. The truth is, despite the emphasis of the protesters on police brutality, by international standards, both sides have actually shown an undeniable amount of restraint [at the time of writing]. “I don’t want to give any wrong idea to anyone about how to escalate this, but in most other places on earth, this would have long become a very nasty and bloody situation,” risk analyst Stevo Stephen told me,
when we spotted each other strolling on Hennessy Road on one of these could-turn-messy Sunday nights. Pointing to the canyon-like streets and the population’s density, he said this urban jungle has many extreme variables on offer which could contribute to violence escalating in a flash. He went on to say what Chief Executive Carrie Lam expressed a few days ago, that it is, indeed, quite remarkable that the crisis has not had serious fatalities... yet. The situation on that night in particular was pretty surreal. We were following a horde of riot police, escorted by water cannon trucks and armoured vehicles that were themselves following journalists. In other words, a protest with no protesters. Police and the press were feeling vaguely abandoned. It quickly turned out that all the action was taking place in Fortress Hill. Of course, you also see the opposite picture, protesters without police, like the long hours that preceded the storming of LegCo on July 1 with the police clearly adopting a “be my guest” attitude while protesters slowly and steadily worked their way in. As always, nothing is straightforward or simple in this story, but what makes covering it, day after day, simply fascinating are the encounters it enables you to make. It seems I have had more in-depth conversations with Hongkongers during this summer of 2019 than in my entire 13-year stay. People have been opening up like never before. Sometimes it’s just a few words. Sometimes they share their life stories with you. Partly thanks to the Hong Kong Journalists Association sponsored Press vests many of us have been wearing for most of our night outings recently, strangers sometimes would just come up to me, on my way in or out of a protest, offering advice, tips or views. The crisis as a whole and the way it has been handled so far has deepened my respect for this society, its youth and its aspirations in particular. Demanding, daring, smart, sophisticated and peaceloving – yet undoubtedly angry. OCTOBER 2019
HONG KONG PROTESTS | THE MEDIA STORY
SPEAKING UP TO PROTECT PRESS FREEDOM Chris Yeung, chair of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, talks to Morgan M. Davis, a finance reporter at Euromoney’s GlobalCapital
ournalism unions and associations have been garnering a great deal of attention lately, as they step up to represent their reporters, advocating with governments and police forces to fight for the safety and wellbeing of working journalists. Likewise, reporter unions have been drawing attention to unfair pay and work standards in newsrooms. Over the summer, Buzzfeed agreed to recognise an employee union, after months of negotiations and a staff walkout. Likewise, in early 2018, Los Angeles Times’ journalists formed the first union in the news organisation’s lengthy history, and the guild has since been pushing for fair contracts for the paper’s staff. In Hong Kong, journalist unions and associations are playing a particularly important role, as press safety and freedom has been thrown into the international spotlight. The Hong Kong Journalists Association has worked in the city since 1968 and its chair Chris Yeung spoke with The Correspondent about HKJA’s work and the importance of such organisations. The Correspondent: What role do journalism unions and associations
play in the everyday life of journalists? Chris Yeung: Journalists can only play their role effectively with press freedom and safeguards against threats to press freedom. One of the major objectives of the journalists association is to fight for press freedom and curb restrictions and counter-threats to a free press. On a day-to-day level, we strive to make sure there are no unnecessary obstructions to journalists in doing their reporting. These include access to events and places to report news that are of public interest. We are monitoring the situation and will make views public if and when necessary. The Correspondent: There’s been some attention given to journalism unions in the U.S. recently, as publications have been fighting to have recognised unions. Why are these unions important for journalists? Chris Yeung: Unity is strength. It is always important that journalists within a media outlet or among the whole sector can join hands to campaign for their benefits and interests. By doing so, they have greater bargaining power with their employers. And at the societal level, a more powerful union will help fight for
greater protection of their well-being through policies and legislations. The Correspondent: Given the current political situation in Hong Kong, what role do you see organisations like yours playing? Chris Yeung: Aside from the difficult business environment, the political environment and freedom climate have sharply declined in recent months due to the protests. It is even more important for the HKJA to fly the banner of press freedom to rally public support. The Correspondent: What can your organisation do to protect press freedom? Chris Yeung: Speak up when there are threats to press freedom. Public support is vitally important. We strive to tell the public why and how an independent and free press is important to safeguard freedoms in HK. We keep fighting for greater legal protection to press freedom. These include laws on archives and access to information.
LET’S STAY TRUE TO THE TALE OF TWO CITIES Annemarie Evans, presenter on RTHK, is a British broadcast and print journalist, based in Hong Kong since 1993
But the nature of an agency photo is that you get the most dramatic one. So it’s hard for me to convince people that it’s almost a tale of two cities, where ordinary life goes on. I think there have also been certain journalists getting off on the drama. What’s that all about? Just do your job. Early comparisons to Tiananmen – want to build up to those? The tale needs to be told fairly. I respect Joshua Wong, but a 22-year-old is not the only voice. Make sure you interview the “duller” middle-aged ones, too.
It’s also made me look back at some of the stories I parachuted into overseas, and made me wonder whether I really had all my facts. There’s been some stunning and brave coverage. The pace has been relentless, particularly for smaller news outlets, but we do need to stay true.
PHOTO: CHRIS YEUNG
he developments over the past three months have taught me that, because of the cherrypicking that occurs when covering a story, the story itself becomes skewed. The view abroad is one of a city in uproar. You’d think Hong Kong was Brixton during the worst riots in 1980s London – on a permanent basis. Some of the coverage has felt so surreal, I wondered if I was living in the same city. That’s not to say that there hasn’t been plenty of shocking violence, and with the increased use of petrol bombs and vandalism as a tool, it’s getting worse.
‘I FOLLOWED THE VOICES AND THEY HELPED ME WASH THE PAIN AWAY’ May James is a new FCC member and freelance photographer
June 12: Photographer May James is treated after being pepper-sprayed
July 28: Protesters gather in Sheung Wan
August 18: Civil Human Rights Front march
PHOTOS: MAY JAMES & CARL COURT GETTY
never imagined myself being in a “war” as a frontline photographer, nor to be witnessing any political movement. It all just started because I was practising different types of photography. When I attended the first march on June 9, people were on the streets to protest a proposed extradition bill. When I returned to the march around 6pm from another shoot, I was stunned by the scene. Crowds and crowds, chants after chants. I thought capturing it would be hard, but a single “Excuse me”, and I had my spot. I came out again on June 12. It was a long, silent wait standing between the demonstrators and police outside government headquarters. When I returned from a short break, people were running past me choking, with the skin on their arms red and their eyes watery. Others helped wash their faces. I rushed to the front; a few photographers were taking pictures of a used tear gas canister on the ground. Police were shouting and holding pepper spray, aiming at the
August 3: A police officer takes control during a protest in Mongkok
umbrellas of the demonstrators. Next, loud noises came from firing. People were fleeing, police were advancing and tear gas seemed to be coming from all sides. It was chaotic. My eyes, legs, arms and face were burning. My 3M surgery mask was soaked. Breathing became difficult. I was overwhelmed and unable to think straight. I was glad to hear “Ladies first”, “This way”, “Give me your camera”. I followed the voices and they helped me wash the pain away. I left with a sense of relief but disappointment, stinging legs and smelly damp clothes. Since then I’ve photographed more than 40 different demonstrations over three months. The tear gas, pepper spray and the blue water [from water cannons] have become bearable. The accidental spray from Molotov cocktails, bricks, tear gas canisters
and other flying objects are now expected. However, the marches have evolved into a radical series of events taking place simultaneously across the city, with rumours spreading over the internet. Making decisions and interpreting signs on the ground to where I should be next has become far harder. In spite of all this, I have found a calm place inside me where I am working. I can see more clearly some of the beauty that can be found within this sad reality. The friendship born in the moment between journalists and our support for each other is priceless. The grateful and kind words from citizens are encouraging. Overall, I feel fortunate to be among those who are documenting and sharing these upheavals in my home city. It has been a life-changing experience for me. OCTOBER 2019
HONG KONG PROTESTS | THE MEDIA STORY
KEEPING UP WITH THE TWITTERSPHERE
Mary Hui, a reporter for Quartz and a FCC Clare Hollingworth Fellow, takes a look at how the media are using social media
he nature of Hong Kong’s ongoing protests — quickchanging, fast-flowing, widespread, decentralised, and spontaneous — makes it fiendishly difficult to keep track of all the latest developments. For journalists covering the movement, this has meant relying on three key tools for receiving and disseminating information: the encrypted messaging app Telegram; the local online forum LIHKG; and, of course, Twitter. Of the three, Twitter is the most outward-facing platform and the most widely used among English-language journalists reporting on the protests. For a movement that is so intensely visual – think the human chains, the crowd parting like the Red Sea, the graphic videos of assaults, the colourful Post-it notes, the AirDrops of protest materials – Twitter is the perfect platform to present audiovisual material, alongside bitesized portions of context and analysis. Unfortunately, it’s also ripe with misinformation and outright falsehoods. Twitter has so far shut down more than 5,200 accounts in China that were found to be attempting to sow discord and disinformation in Hong Kong.
Those accounts were part of a larger “spammy network” of some 200,000 China-based accounts. In an attempt to push back against the Chinese state narrative, and also to internationalise their publicity efforts, Hong Kong’s protesters have flocked to Twitter, as my colleague Isabella Steger has reported. For journalists, being on Twitter means having to sift through mountains of questionable material. The onus is on them to do due diligence and ensure, to the best of their ability, that they do not contribute to the dissemination of inaccurate information. Then there’s the harassment issue. Aside from targeting journalists with vile comments, some Twitter trolls have openly called for the doxxing of certain members of the press. Last month, there began to circulate a collage of Twitter profile images of mostly women journalists of Asian descent writing for English-language media, with calls to expose the reporters’ personal details. I had the honour of making it onto the list, alongside illustrious company. The offending tweet (and perhaps also the account) appears to have since been taken down, but
the battle against the trolls is neverending. For my part, I try to report any account that is clearly fake, or that is harassing myself or others. As Twitter continues to feel like an extension of our journalist bodies, there emerges the question of whether or how to separate reportage and opinion. Elaine Yu, a former AFP correspondent covering Hong Kong and now a freelance journalist, sees value in understanding another reporter’s opinion. “I like, or don’t mind, opinion as long as it’s original and thoughtprovoking,” she said. “Knowing a journalist’s politics and subjectivity helps us understand their coverage better, too.” I find myself in the same camp as author Antony Dapiran, who said: “I don’t think anyone in this post-postmodern age still genuinely believes in the sham of objectivity.” As both a journalist and a Hongkonger, I’m reminded of what Eliza Griswold, a visiting professor at Princeton with whom I took a journalism class (and who won the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction this year), drilled into us: “Own your subjectivities.” It’s something I keep in mind as I live and breathe protest Twitter.
MEDIA PLAY A VITAL ROLE AND HAVE MET THEIR CHALLENGE FEARLESSLY
nother Sunday night in Causeway Bay, as the day's protests dwindled, something was happening. Wedged between a large delivery truck and the windows of a cha caan teng, there was shouting and shoving, and a huge group of media and onlookers crammed in on either side. The riot police had withdrawn moments earlier, and now it looked like some kind of confrontation had broken out. 22
Was it a clash with a progovernment supporter? Another suspected undercover police officer discovered in the crowd? I joined the back of the pack, up against the window, trying to see what was in the midst of that mass of people, but to no avail. Then, I happened to glance through the window into the cha caan teng: a television was on the wall opposite me. The television was tuned to the usual live broadcast of the protests.
The broadcast was showing a huge group of media and onlookers wedged between a large delivery truck and the windows of a cha caan teng. I noticed the camera was filming from the other side of the crowd – if I stuck my arm up and waved I could probably wave at myself on the TV. But I still couldn't see what was going on in the middle of the crowd. Poet, musician and author Gil Scott-Heron told us: “The revolution will not be televised.” This one has THE CORRESPONDENT
PHOTO: MAY JAMES
Antony Dapiran is a Hong Kong-based lawyer, writer and photographer and author of City of Protest: A Recent History of Dissent in Hong Kong
been more than televised, it has been livestreamed: terrestrial TV, cable TV, Facebook Live, Twitter. You can pull up a livestream aggregator on your computer and watch a dozen different streams running simultaneously. But does that improve the quality of the information viewers are receiving?
A livestream can provide a lot of images, but still not necessarily the full picture. The imagery, reminiscent of an action movie or a video game, almost makes the events seem less real. These last few months, the media have been playing a vital role, ensuring the public is receiving the
best understanding possible of the events roiling our city. Hong Kong’s protesters have a slogan: “Those born in troubled times bear a heavy responsibility.” It is a slogan which may apply equally to Hong Kong’s media, a challenge they have met fearlessly.
FINDING BALANCE AT #HONGKONGPROTEST Unlike Facebook, Twitter is a solid platform for real-time, breaking news coverage that’s faster than any news outlet – and following the right people is essential. The FCC’s Social Media Editor Sarah Graham, who has seen the Club’s social media engagement increase during the protests, takes a look at four protest Twitter personalities.
Hong Kong Hermit (@ HongKongHermit) has become something of a Twitter celebrity since the protests began, having been ‘identified’ by Chinese social media users as a CIA operative directing the protests. This inadvertently boosted Hermit’s kudos and Twitter following (he’s currently at just shy of 36,000 followers – up from 4,000 before the protests began). In reality, Hermit live streams and tweets the protests as they take place across Hong Kong.
Mary Hui (@maryhui) brings valuable insight into the protest coverage with her explanations behind the Cantonese used by protesters. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Hui is able to highlight the nuances in the language. She also live tweets from protest sites across the city. Hui has more than 13,000 Twitter followers.
with threads including observations on how protesters neutralise tear gas, and the artwork emerging from online satirists. Isabella Steger (@stegersaurus), deputy Asia bureau chief for Quartz, offers a mix of live reporting, commentary and observational humour. She has been particularly eloquent in her critiques of the opeds of overseas writers commenting on the politics behind the Hong Kong protests.
Antony Dapiran (@antd) is a Hong Kong-based lawyer and author of the book City of Protest: A Recent History of Dissent in Hong Kong. He offers a deeper-dive into the protests THE CORRESPONDENT
HONG KONG PROTESTS | THE MEDIA STORY
SEEKING THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER Rachel Blundy, Fact-check Editor for AFP in Hong Kong
e’ve seen a wave of disinformation about the Hong Kong protests since the beginning of June, when mass demonstrations were held against the now withdrawn extradition bill. AFP’s Hong Kong fact check reporter and editors have examined hundreds of misleading and false posts on platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Weibo and WeChat. Some of these posts have been shared tens of thousands of times and some videos receive millions of views. It’s concerning to see how quickly misinformation can spread, but it also helps us to understand what people are reading about the protests on social media platforms. In general, we see more misinformation being promoted on platforms such as Facebook by proBeijing and pro-government and pro-police groups. Many of these groups have tens of thousands of members, mainly sharing information in traditional Chinese
language posts. Misleading or false content is sometimes disseminated across multiple groups, sometimes deliberately. But we also see a considerable amount of misinformation being shared by the pro-protester side. And sometimes I’ve noticed those on the pro-protester side are opting to share misinformation on encrypted apps such as Telegram, rather than on open social media platforms. As the protests have continued, the volume of misinformation on social media about the situation in Hong Kong has certainly increased. We focus on debunking false social media posts which include photos and videos which we can verify comprehensively, for example by geolocating them, finding previous examples of them online in the correct context, or speaking to witnesses and officials. We have sometimes seen footage and photos of incidents in Malaysia, Taiwan or mainland China being misrepresented to suggest they show Hong Kong. We can
PHOTO: AFP & SUPPLIED
Flowers were left at the Prince Edward MTR station after August 31
debunk these kinds of posts very comprehensively and visually on our fact check blog. We often use reverse image searches to check whether a photo or video has appeared online previously. We used this method to analyse a video of PLA tanks travelling through Hong Kong shared on Twitter and Facebook in July 2019. A reverse image search shows the video has been online since at least 2012. This proves it is not a new video of a recent incident. We found corroborating local media reports from the time which stated the video shows a “normal and necessary” troop rotation in June 2012, and by consulting Google Street View we confirmed the video shows a junction next to Jordan MTR station. We have also seen an increasing number of “conspiracy theories” being circulated about the protests, for example the accusation that protesters are being paid to participate in demonstrations, or that CIA officers have infiltrated protest groups. We have not seen any evidence to support these kinds of claims, but it is very difficult to comprehensively debunk such allegations in a fact-check report. We prefer not to amplify these kinds of unsubstantiated rumours. Most recently, we have analysed rumours that protesters died at Prince Edward MTR station after violent arrests on August 31. We debunked claims that two letters about recent student deaths at local secondary schools were evidence of protester deaths; the schools concerned told AFP that the student deaths were unrelated to the protests – one of the students had died the day before the Prince Edward incident. As fact-checkers, we also work with AFP’s news reporters and video teams to verify the accuracy of videos and photos shared online, for example footage of police brutality during the protests.
‘HE SAID, SHE SAID ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH’ Eric Cheung is a freelance journalist based in Hong Kong with an interest in geopolitical and social stories. His work has appeared in CNN International, The Guardian, Reuters, South China Morning Post and others
‘We should be more active in fact-checking rumours and claims’
ince June, journalists in Hong Kong have been faced with the challenge of covering the biggest story since the city’s handover. And it has not been an easy job – we have responded to spontaneous protests across the city, putting ourselves in harm’s way on the front lines as protesters engage in running battles with the police.
It is precisely at times like this that the role of the media is highlighted in public debate. Our words and images have, on many occasions, proven to be critical in revealing the truth amidst the cloud of misinformation. Our reporting has not only updated the public on the latest events on the ground, but also provided the “first draft of history” as the world watches with anxiety. One challenge, especially
for local reporters, has been the need to remain independent, but not detached, in reporting the story. I am a staunch defender of classic journalism principles – we should always be fair, impartial, and accurate – as this is what makes us trustworthy. But that does not mean we should turn a blind eye to falsehoods. I believe it is not the job of the media to repeat what different stakeholders have to say. The “he said, she said” style of reporting is simply not enough, given that a large amount of rumours are being circulated every day. Instead, we should be more active in fact-checking rumours and claims. If we find that someone is not telling the truth, we should call them out while providing context for our readers. Only that will allow us to serve as an independent monitor of power, and provide a useful platform for public discussion.
‘I’VE ARRIVED WHERE I STARTED’ Violet Law has been reporting on the protests for Al Jazeera English and occasionally for The Times of London
still remember there was a time – actually for the better part of the past decade – when Hong Kong was quiet, and even the hottest news of the day seemed like a tempest in a teapot. Not fit to print, or even to brief my editors at the mothership. A small village few people had ever heard of was being bulldozed to make way for the high-speed rail. Funding for northwestern New Territories development plans were meeting vocal opposition. Little-known returning officers barred popular candidates from running. Who would’ve thought all these teapot tempests would brew into the THE CORRESPONDENT
political storm we’ve been chasing for the past few months? For me, covering Hong Kong wasn’t supposed to be foreign reporting. I grew up here after all, before coming of age in America and then willing myself into journalism there. I returned for the China story. Hong Kong was supposed to be a sideshow, or so I thought. Explaining the forces driving the anti-extradition bill protest movement to my readers, I’ve come to find, has been like solving “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”. Only now do I realise I know so little about the historical and geopolitical
factors that have shaped Hong Kong, especially when I’m seeing history in the making. And as I’m writing the best “first draft” I can manage, my T.S. Eliot Little Gidding epiphany rings so true: I’ve arrived where I started. And know Hong Kong for the first time. Indeed.
HONG KONG PROTESTS | THE MEDIA STORY
THE MASKED KISS James Pomfret is Reuters Chief Correspondent South China / Deputy Bureau Chief, Hong Kong
t was a fleeting moment on the night of August 11 as we ran from the men in blue and green with their guns and truncheons. The black-masks streamed down into an MTR station amid the heat, tumult and acrid swirl of tear gas lingering on sweat-soaked clothes. An underground train pulled into the station with a burst of light and silver. It filled with protesters, then drew away, speeding into a dark tunnel like a freedom express. For a while now, I’ve been trying to photograph birds in wild places, striving to capture those elusive flashes of beauty between earth and sky. As a journalist covering the protests, such escapades into nature offered a counterpoint of serenity and kept me sane. By focusing my lens on our city’s rich birdlife across mangroves, mudflats, forests, grasslands and mountains, I learnt hard lessons in photographic
abstraction. Blurred leaf, bare branch, empty sky became my constant motifs. Afterwards, when I tilted the lens towards our strife-torn urbanscapes, I discovered something strange. People seemed to move more slowly, as though underwater. That evening, as the protesters disembarked and clamoured on the platform in Prince Edward station, there amid the chaos came a sliver of stillness between the massed bodies. I saw a young masked couple lean towards one another. Time froze. Reflexively, I lifted the viewfinder to my right eye, and squeezed down with my right index finger, knowing as I pressed that this was the moment I’d been waiting for without knowing how or why. The masked young man leans down to the young woman, herself leaning upwards, as their slender arms hold one another’s faces, eyes locked,
lips separated only by the dark membrane of their masks. This kiss would take wing, out of the mouth of the underground, up over the skyscrapers and beyond the granite visage of Lion Rock, to soar into the night skies. The violence has been unrelenting, the politics intractable, the divisions deep, but in that kiss we were all reminded of a shared humanity, and an enduring hope in our city of sadness. Only love can defeat injustice. It is ultimately love for a place, for a cause, for another, that helps muster our courage to strive for a better tomorrow. There is a place in our hearts, our hills, our harbour, our high-rises that can never be violated. A quiet refuge that lingers. Hong Kong remains a reservoir of freedom, and this freedom, like love, cannot be vanquished. THE CORRESPONDENT
PHOTO: JAMES POMFRET
‘In that kiss we were all reminded of a shared humanity’
‘HONGKONGERS HELP THEIR NEIGHBOUR FIRST’ Casey Quackenbush is a Hong Kong-based freelance journalist, formerly with TIME now covering the protests primarily for Al Jazeera and The Washington Post
hen I walked out of the Admiralty MTR exit B, my lips and eyes immediately stung. Hundreds of people were spilling onto Tamar Street from Harcourt Road. People tossed inhalers through the crowd and medics flushed people’s eyes with saline. After I had gone into the crowd, tear gas canisters popped and a sea of arms waved through the thoroughfare. People tried to run, but the highway was too packed. This was June 12. I was terrified then. But given everything that has happened since, it doesn’t feel all that remarkable anymore. After 17 weeks, most protests have blurred together into one big plume of tear gas. But what I remember most at the end of another long weekend are the people. There are the ones who made me laugh. The video of the couple
bumbling to kiss wearing gas masks, or the old man who walked through the streets with a vacuum cleaner to try and suck out the tear gas. The protester who trailed riot police blasting Glory to Hong Kong from his bike. There are the ones who made me sad. After a couple had been detained and searched by police on Ice House Street, a woman was released and ran into the arms of her boyfriend, kissing and crying. Just this weekend, a video of a man with a mental disability being searched and harassed by police deeply upset me. And then there are the ones who helped me. The girl who turned around to toss me a bottle of saline when the cops came charging. The guy who, even as the tear gas started coming, held my backpack as I struggled to retrieve my gas mask. The countless
times protesters have offered me water or protective gear. Even in these moments of panic and fear, I never cease to be touched by Hongkongers. Their humanity, their quirkiness, their altruism. Even when the crowd reaches the roadside fences, as happened on June 12, Hongkongers help their neighbour to jump first.
WATCHING FROM 12 HOURS BEHIND Absent Club member Rob Gerhardt, a freelance photographer, is currently based in New York but is taking a keen interest in the photographs coming out of Hong Kong’s protests
was sitting at my local bar in Brooklyn, reading the day’s news, when I saw it: a photograph of a single outstretched arm, hand clenched in a fist, taken from above while a mass of protesters marched below, photographed by Vincent Yu. It made me think of Josef Koudelka’s photograph from the Prague Spring in 1968 of his outstretched hand with his watch looking down on an empty square. All I could think in that moment was that I hoped things in Hong Kong would end differently than they had in Prague. My first trip to Asia was in 2006, when I went to the ThailandMyanmar border to photograph the Karen refugees and their lives in the wake of the war they have been fighting against the Myanmar military junta. My work in Hong Kong has focused on the distinction between the city’s business-focused daylight
hours and the seedier side that comes out after dark. And now the city is international news. The photographs are of a city
at war with itself. Of a population that has had enough with the state of how things are, fighting against an adversary as equally compelled to stop them and maintain the status quo. It is all in the scenes captured by Lam Yik Fei, Adam Ferguson, May James and Tsuen Wan. Their photographs show Hong Kong’s Summer of Discontent up close and personal, with the viewer able to watch everything unfold before their eyes in graphic and poetic detail. None of these stories are finished, and one can only guess what their outcomes will be. But the record is in the work of the photographers who are on the scene. And it is some of their work that will define these stories for the future. See On The Wall, HKG, an exhibition by Vincent Yu, pages 38-39 OCTOBER 2019
HONG KONG PROTESTS | THE MEDIA STORY
‘STONE AGE’ SYSTEM LEAVES REPORTERS IN THE DARK WHEN THEY COVER HONG KONG COURTS Not much has changed for years in the way Hong Kong’s courts handle the media, leaving reporters to rely on an unspoken code of sharing any information they can get their hands on. This doesn’t bode well for the protestrelated cases the judiciary will handle in the coming months. Jane Moir reports
Jane Moir writes on legal, regulatory and financial crime issues. She is a former court reporter with the South China Morning Post and was admitted as a barrister in 2012.
ournalists who regularly cover the courts in Hong Kong have an unspoken code. You can keep a scoop to yourself but are expected to share the essentials of a case with other court reporters, from writ lists to submissions by counsel. It is a system which evolved out of necessity. On a typical day at the High Court there might be 25 hearings for journalists to cover. At the District Court, a similar figure. Add the city’s seven magistracies, the coroner’s court, and lands and labour tribunals into the mix and it would take an editorial army to do justice to the daily court diary. In the coming months, as protestrelated arrests and judicial reviews gradually trickle into the courts, journalists will have no choice but to select which cases they will cover. Globally, as jurisdictions embrace technology and respond to dwindling journalist numbers with easier access to the courts and digitalised documentation, Hong Kong has made
just incremental change over the past 20 years. Journalists in Hong Kong are not privy to large chunks of a case: for example, witness statements which are accepted as evidence but not read out in court. Written expert reports, also deemed to be part of a case’s evidence, are not made available, even in redacted form. In criminal cases, there has been some progress and journalists no longer have to beg friendly prosecutors to see an indictment. The High Court press office now keeps a copy for journalists to see. But in the District Court and magistrates courts, journalists must still approach prosecutors or counsel to see what charges a defendant is facing. Although these charges will be read out in court, it requires a speedy hand to note down all the facts. The same is the case with any admitted facts read out in open court with crucial details – such as spellings of names – a reporter
would want to check. “It’s still very Stone Age,’’ says South China Morning Post court reporter Chris Lau. “When things like admitted facts are read in open court, they are read very quickly and sometimes it’s difficult to follow because we don’t have the same documents.’’ Civil cases can be particularly problematic to cover, he says, as opening and closing submissions may not be read out, leaving gaps in the facts and legal arguments for both the press and public. These skeleton arguments are sometimes accepted by the court with only a few particular queries from the bench. It can be a hardy exercise for a journalist to piece together the gist of an argument when counsel refers to paragraph numbers rather than reading the relevant text. Court reporters must ask counsel for a copy of their submissions, which is not always granted, although in high profile cases they are sometimes
available in soft copy. At the Court of Final Appeal (CFA), counsel’s submissions are uploaded onto the CFA website “with parties’ consent”, according to the Judiciary. In some cases, it may be only at judgment stage that the picture becomes clear. The Judiciary publishes judgments online and in recent years has tended to upload the documents the same day the decision is handed down. This is not always the case: for example, there was a twoweek delay in uploading the English version of a decision to jail democracy activists Joshua Wong Chi-fung, Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Alex Chow Yong-kang in 2017. Most judgments will give a good summary of the facts, evidence and reasoning. Occasionally however a judge will refer to a “helpful summary of the background and issues” as set out in counsel’s – unpublished skeleton submissions, and only give a very brief outline. Similar issues over access to the courts and case information in the UK led to a review in 2018. As a result, HM Courts published guidance on what information journalists are entitled to, as well as allowing journalists to report on cases using texts or other communications. The general starting point is that journalists should be supplied with documents and information unless there is a good reason not to. The criminal procedure rules were also revised in October 2018 to incorporate the procedure for journalists’ requests for copies of
Lawmakers and legal professionals march to the Central Government Offices in Hong Kong on June 6 to protest against the government’s plans to approve extraditions with mainland China, Taiwan and Macau
court documents. In general, if a document has been read out in court, it should usually be provided on request – electronically, if possible. Other jurisdictions, such as the U.S., take a different approach. To any court reporter, a browse on New York’s Supreme Court website is the stuff of fantasy: a plethora of information, from the writ and defence, counterclaim, witness statements, exhibits and even correspondence between parties. Reporters from Hong Kong who covered the New York trial of disgraced former minister Patrick Ho
FAMILY AND JUVENILE COURTS PRESENT A CHALLENGE, TOO Hong Kong has not opted to follow the UK in allowing journalists access to the family courts. Britain has recently moved toward greater access amid controversial cases, such as a council’s decision to remove a child from her mother illegally. Although held in private, journalists in the UK have a presumptive right to attend family court proceedings and must adhere to reporting restrictions. In Hong Kong, family courts are closed to journalists. Some judges publish judgments of family proceedings in redacted form, but it is still the practice of the court to seek permission from the parties before doing so. In the juvenile courts, journalists may attend hearings unless the judge decides it is not in the interests of the child in question. But in some recent cases involving children arrested at the protests and separated from their parents, court reporters were barred from attending despite the high levels of public interest. The details of the case only became available when the guardians filed a judicial review and writ for habeas corpus at the High Court.
in December were astonished by the wealth of case-related information they had access to, either online or available through the attorney general’s press office. Hearings have likewise commonly been televised in the U.S. for decades. Britain’s Supreme Court began live streaming in 2014. Hong Kong’s High Court has broadcast some high-profile trials – the prosecution of former chief executive Donald Tsang and the Sun Hung Kai Kwok brothers’ trial for example - in the vicinity of the courtroom (usually the lobby outside) given seating constraints. In terms of televised hearings, the Judiciary says it is “keeping in view the developments in other jurisdictions on this front” but cites “divergent views” as being a factor in the decision that it has “no plan to introduce televised hearings in Hong Kong courts’’. In respect of journalists’ digital access to other information such as witness statements and expert reports, the Judiciary says: “… thorough considerations need to be given and relevant stakeholders including the legal profession need to be fully consulted before a decision can be made.” As the courts gear up to handle more and more protest-related cases, court reporters will still need their unspoken code, friendly clerks and cooperative counsel to give an accurate account of proceedings – much as they did 20 years ago.
HONG KONG PROTESTS | THE MEDIA STORY
HONG KONG PROTESTS – PAST AND PRESENT Current photographs, Birdy Chu; others from FCC archive and courtesy of SCMP
“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times”
an action camera when I go out filming. It is a war zone, and that’s no joke! I was hit by the water cannon mixed with pepper spray. My body felt as if it was burning and my eyes were red and injured. It is a horrible experience that no one will forget.
Tear gas, rubber bullets and sponge rounds became a regular sight in Hong Kong from June. The extradition bill aroused hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong people to march every weekend, creating an influential movement. Just five years after the Umbrella Movement, this time around the scale is much larger and has been escalating week by week. The city has become a hotspot of international news. As the weeks went by, my backpack became heavier. I now need a yellow vest, full face mask and helmet, plus
Hong Kong has always been a safe and beautiful city. Hong Kong people are always smart and strong.
© 2014 ROBIN MOYER © 2014 XYZA CRUZ BACANI
© 2014 XYZA CRUZ BACANI
© 2014 ROBIN MOYER
© 2019 BIRDY CHU
© 2019 BIRDY CHU
© 2019 AFP
© 2019 MAY JAMES
© 2019 BIRDY CHU
© 2019 BIRDY CHU
HONG KONG PROTESTS | THE MEDIA STORY
SEASON OF DISCONTENT: A TIMELINE The protests and FCC events July 1 Protestors vandalise LegCo
July 21 White-shirted mob, said to be triad members, attack protestors and public trapped in MTR at Yuen Long
July 14 Fighting breaks out at New Town Plaza, Sha Tin. 40 protestors arrested
June 9 March from Victoria Park to Admiralty largest since 1997
Aug 5 Strikes and protests disrupt rush-hour MTR
July 27/28 Violent weekend in Yuen Long and Sai Ying Pun
AUGUST Aug 8
July 23 July 10 FCC’s first protestrelated event The Hong Kong Protests: What Happened and What’s Next, Lunch panel, see p42 for report
Silent protest by FCC members after violent attacks against journalists
July 23 Hong Kong Protests workshops launched A Workshop on Journalists’ Safety, Stevo Stephen, APAC and Africa News Risk Senior Manager, the Wall Street Journal
Aug 11 Sit-in at airport/ police arrests across HK as flash mob tactic used by protestors
Aug 5 Disruption to Club Operations. Due to current civil disobedience and subsequent anticipated disruptions across the city today, Club Management hereby notifies Members that only the Lounge and Bar shall remain open until further update
Hong Kong Protests – Past and Present, Wall exhibition, see On The Wall pp30-31
Aug 8 The Protests and Press Freedom, Lunch panel
Aug 12 FCC letter to Hong Kong Commissioner of Police, Lo Wai Chung, Stephen Aug 6 Breakfast, A Workshop on the Legal Risks for Journalists, Sharron Fast HKU
PHOTOS: FCC, AFP, BIRDY CHU
HK’s biggest march ever, 2 million, Victoria Park to LegCo
Full text of statements and letters, and videos of workshops and panels are available at www.fcchk.org
Sept 8 Fire set at entrance to Central MTR station, peaceful march to U.S. Consulate
Sep 1 Aug 18
HK International Airport disrupted
Peaceful march from Victoria Park
Aug 30 Activists including Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Andy Chan arrested
Aug 23 Thousands form a human chain across HK, next day violence breaks out in battle with police in Kowloon
Schools and universities start new year with strikes and boycotts
Violence escalates, thousands march from Causeway Bay to Central, multiple clashes, fire at entrance to Wan Chai MTR station, police use water cannons and blue dye, tear gas, pepper spray
Aug 31 Violence breaks out in Wan Chai after a peaceful unauthorised march. Protestors threw Molotov cocktails, police used tear gas, fired two rounds, and sprayed blue dye from water cannons
Aug 25 Violence at Kwai Chung, with police using tear gas, water cannons, and one shot fired into air by police officer
Oct 1 Sept 4 Carrie Lam announces withdrawal of Extradition Bill
Protester shot, violent demonstrations across Hong Kong as China celebrates 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China
SEPTEMBER Aug 13 FCC opens its doors to journalists sent to HK to cover protests story
Is the SinoBritish Joint Declaration Dead? Lunch discussion, see p43 for report
Aug 13 Breakfast, A Workshop on Digital Security, Lokman Tsui, CUHK Aug 13 Statement: FCC expresses ‘grave concern’ over attack on journalist at Hong Kong Airport protest
Aug 27 Breakfast, Covering Mental Health and Suicide, Paul Yip, Director, Centre of Suicide Research and Prevention, HKU
Sept 2 FCC Security Statement: “With the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, the Club may, on occasion, see fit to lock its front doors for security reasons, as it did on Saturday afternoon when there was a demonstration rallying point outside the main entrance. The Club remained open and access was controlled by our security guard.”
FCC statement condemning increasing acts of violence against journalists
Silent protest at FCC: “Yes to press freedom, no to violence against journalists”
Sept 3 Breakfast, First Aid and Health Safety, Brian Wong, HK Red Cross
Lunch Panel: Information Wars – How Fake News and Disinformation Have Been Weaponised in the Hong Kong Protests Sept 30 FCC statement condemning further violence against journalists following serious injury to an Indonesian reporter
BATTLE TO CUT HOSPITAL PLAN DOWN TO SIZE
COURTESY OF GHCC. DESIGN RENDITION: SUZE CHAN/PHOTOS: JOHN BATTEN
The FCC recently sent a message to members to support its representation to the Town Planning Board on the proposed 25-storey hospital and development across the road from the Club. John Batten brings us up to date
Artistâ€™s montaged rendition of a proposed 135-metre building on the site
own planning in Hong Kong can take ages to complete and the process can be complex. The proposed redevelopment by the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui (Anglican Church) of the former Central Hospital next to the Bishop House and across from the FCC is currently going through another stage of its planning. I outlined in The Correspondent last July the historic importance of the entire Bishop Hill site with its four
heritage buildings, trees and greenery. This is an update on efforts to protect it from overdevelopment. The Government Hill Concern Group (GHCC) is a group of heritage advocates who came together to campaign against the demolition of the West Wing, one of the three wings of the former Central Government Offices (CGO), sitting on Lower Albert Road adjacent to the Bishop House, Government House and the
FCC. Demolishing the West Wing would have destroyed the modernist architectural integrity of this historic site, the cityâ€™s original seat of government administration from the first days of British colonial rule in Hong Kong. After a concerted campaign, culminating in a meeting with thenDevelopment, now Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po, the West Wing was saved. Its renovation for the
Department of Justice is nearing completion and it will soon reopen. FCC members may recall that the West Wing previously had an elevator that gave public access from Queen’s Road Central up to Lower Albert Road. Once the West Wing reopens, this lift access should again be available to give FCC members an alternative, non-hill route to the Club. The integrity of the former government hill site is now assured and the GHCC has regrouped to campaign for the adjacent Bishop Hill site to be similarly conserved. A planning application was made last year requesting the Town Planning Board properly plan the site rather than immediately allow the Anglican Church to redevelop it without additional public consultation. The Town Planning Board agreed with the concern group, and an Outline Zoning Plan (OZP) has been prepared by the Planning Department and was recently open for public scrutiny. In this OZP – which outlines broad-brush statutory planning details for all areas of Hong Kong – a height restriction of 135 metres (about 25 storeys) has been recommended for Bishop Hill by
Artist’s impression of proposed hospital
the Planning Department. The GHCC argues this height is too high and any new development of consequent scale and bulk would overwhelm this sensitive heritage site. The group has now submitted a considered counter proposal in
a submission to the Town Planning Board. The GHCC argues that the entire site has a height restriction of no higher than 80 metres (about 20 metres higher than the former Central Hospital’s current height), and that any new development only be allowed to be built on the footprint of the current buildings. This proposal will still allow the Anglican Church to develop, or renovate, the former Central Hospital, but will not overwhelm the site’s heritage and greenery. This restricted height will also contain the bulk and form of any new building, alleviate traffic congestion, and retain the unique historic ambience of the entire Bishop Hill. The GHCC and the FCC will make oral submissions to the Town Planning Board at a hearing to discuss the OZP in the next months. Anyone else who has made a comment on this application can also address the Town Planning Board – which makes a decision after hearing all submissions. *A Point of View, https://issuu.com/ fcchk/docs/the_correspondent_ july_2018
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BUND MASTERPIECE STILL STANDING TALL AT 90 The Peace Hotel on Shanghai’s Bund has seen it all over 90 years, from glittering guests such as Charlie Chaplin and Noel Coward, to the Gang of Four and Communist officials settling in as the wheels of history turned. Jonathan Sharp went along for birthday celebrations
View of the Bu
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hina has many significant anniversaries to mark – or ignore – in 2019. One that does not appear to have politically sensitive overtones is this year’s 90th anniversary of the opening of the Peace Hotel, the Art Deco masterpiece on Shanghai’s Bund. Originally called the Cathay and now part of Fairmont’s global stable, the Peace has been witness, and sometimes party to, some of the most remarkable and momentous changes of fortune that have studded China’s modern history. And, externally at least, it still looks much the same as it did when it opened in 1929, complete with the distinctive copper-sheathed green pyramid on top that glows at night. The hotel was the brainchild of real estate tycoon Sir Victor Sassoon, the most notable of the Jews of Iraqi origin who took their chances in Shanghai. He used an 11th floor penthouse in the hotel as his pied-a-terre. Perhaps most renowned for its front and centre role in Shanghai’s heyday of hedonism and decadence in the 1930s, the hotel also weathered rogue bombs and Japanese occupation, and the Communist takeover in 1949. During the Cultural Revolution members of the radical Gang of Four availed themselves of its services. Once the tallest building in the Far East, the granite-clad hotel now stands shoulder-to-shoulder with a parade of other magnificent historical relics that once housed foreign banks, trading houses and consulates, strung along the elegant curve of the Bund. Facing directly opposite them across the Huangpu River is the glitzy cluster of skyscrapers of Pudong, totems of
today’s China. This graphic counterpoint between past and present China is best viewed, as I did recently, from the terraced bar on the ninth floor of the Peace. The hotel, like other buildings along the Bund, had a difficult birth because of the treacherous nature of the construction site, a swamp scores of metres deep in mud. The solution employed by venerable Hong Kong-based architects Palmer & Turner – still going strong today – was to saturate the site with masses of timber piles covered by a giant concrete raft. It worked. Once completed as the height of opulence, extravagance and state-of-the-art facilities, the hotel hosted and boasted a glittering roll call of celebrity guests. It was one of the places in Asia for the famous to see and be seen, to preen and be preened. So, the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Paulette Goddard stayed, Douglas Fairbanks tested the sprung timber ballroom floor. And Noel Coward drafted his play Private Lives in his hotel room while recovering from ’flu. Sir Victor’s costume parties were legion and legendary. But one went hilariously awry, as chronicled by Taras Grescoe in his superb book, Shanghai Grand. At a circusthemed dance, Sylvia Chancellor, wife of Christopher Chancellor of the Reuters Far East bureau, and Henry Keswick of Jardine’s smuggled a live donkey into the party. The donkey duly defecated amidst the dancers. Sir Victor was not amused. Mrs Chancellor’s high jinks did not harm her husband’s career one jot. Sir Christopher rose to run all of Reuters for 15 years. In those days Shanghai gloried in the title as the “Paris of the Orient”, but it was also described as the “Whore of
PHOTOS: PEACE HOTEL
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the Orient” for its prostitution, drug dens and corruption. Evidence of the city’s squalor and crushing mass poverty was right outside the hotel. One of the best known of the army of beggars was called “Light in the Head”. He kept a lighted candle, dripping wax, on his shaved head. On August 14, 1937 the war with Japan came shatteringly close when two stray bombs from Chinese aircraft aiming at a Japanese warship in the Huangpu River shook the hotel to its foundations. The bombs devastated Nanjing Street outside the hotel, but spared the guests. Seemingly the party was well and truly over. When the Communists came to power in 1949 the hotel was used by municipal officials before being reconstituted as the Peace Hotel in 1956. My first stay was in 1971 when an air of faded glory pervaded the hotel. I recall large rooms with overstuffed armchairs and original bathroom fittings made in Wolverhampton, a gritty industrial town near where I grew up in the UK. The plumbing still worked (good job, Wolverhampton!). A memorable milestone was reached in 1980 when the hotel’s legendary Old Jazz Band performed once again. Live jazz in Communist China! The evident joy and enthusiasm of the six elderly musicians more than made up for any technical rustiness resulting from their years in the shadows. The sextet’s successors still soldier on nightly, although in today’s more relaxed cultural atmosphere they inevitably lack what was once a highly marketable novelty value. In 2007 the Peace Hotel closed for three years of extensive, and expensive, renovation undertaken with solemn pledges to restore it as far as possible to its former Art Deco glory.
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And, as far as my untutored eye can judge, the multimillion dollar facelift for what is now the Fairmont Peace Hotel (although Shanghai residents including taxi drivers stick to the old name) has been a success. Of immediate impact is the stunning octagonal rotunda in the lobby with a copper and yellow-tinted glass skylight that for decades was hidden. However throughout the revamped hotel, authentic touches abound in the furniture and fittings, not least the huge claw-foot bathtub in the bathroom of the spacious double room where my wife Betty and I stayed. Betty’s tutored eye also approved of the eighth floor Dragon Phoenix restaurant. Rates and prices were, by Hong Kong standards at least, pleasantly reasonable. So, I am guessing Sir Victor would have approved of the makeover of his masterpiece. Perhaps he would be less happy with a sour note that intrudes, one that is entirely out of the hotel’s control. When we tuned into the BBC World Service in our room, the screen periodically went blank – footage of the Hong Kong protests, then in full swing, was being aired. The programme resumed when the world’s other dramas and disasters less close to home were reported. August 1 saw the launch of grand celebrations of the hotel’s 90th anniversary. Blasts from the past included an appearance by 99-year-old Zhou Wanrong, leader of the Old Jazz Band when it was revived in 1980. Another reminder of the hotel’s extraordinary history was a recital played on the Steinway piano that was ordered by Sir Victor for the hotel’s opening. Jonathan Sharp joined Reuters after studying Chinese at university. A 30-year career also took him to North America, Middle East and South Africa, but his favourite posting was Hong Kong, where he freelances.
ON THE WALL
HKG Photographs by VINCENT YU from his 1998 book, HKG, and its 20th anniversary edition
Chris Patten, The Last Governor of Hong Kong, writes: “Vincent Yu, whose work I have known for years, has in this book assembled a collection of photographs which tell us an enormous amount about the community’s history and life of Hong Kong. He became a familiar face during my years in Hong Kong and it has been a pleasure to see him on the other side of his camera on recent visits. I am sure that everybody who reads this book will feel that they have been reminded about what a great city Vincent has photographed over the years. I hope, indeed all Hong Kong’s friends hope, that it will remain a great city with its autonomy and rule of law still in place. It is sad that anyone has to think otherwise, but recent events have not all been very encouraging except of course for the courage and principle which so many Hong Kong citizens still demonstrate.”
About Vincent Yu Born and raised in Hong Kong, Yu has worked as an Associated Press photographer covering major news events across the Asia-Pacific region since the mid-1980s. As a close observer of Hong Kong’s social and political development, Yu has acquired a unique sensitivity towards the territory’s ever-changing cityscape and environment which are often reflected through his imaginaries. Yu is an award-winning photographer whose works cover both the journalistic and documentary genres. He is the first Hong Kong photographer to have been recognised by World Press Photo and his works are being collected by the Hong Kong Heritage Museum. Yu was chairman of the Hong Kong Press Photographers Association, and a founding member of the Hong Kong International Photo Festival. From 2010-2012, he operated The Upper Station Photo Gallery in Hong Kong, which showcased the works of some of Hong Kong’s most acclaimed photographers.
ON THE WALL
RAIN Photographs by WILLIAM FURNISS
illiam Furniss is an urbanist and architectural photographer based in Hong Kong but born in London in 1970. An early interest in science and design led to an engineering degree at Exeter University in England before beginning his photographic career in 1991. Initially taken with the idea of working as a portrait photographer, Furniss assisted luminaries of the London scene such as Patrick Litchfield and Terry O’Neill. In 1993 William was encouraged by friends who lived here to visit Hong Kong. Deng Xiaoping had reputedly said: “To get rich is glorious”, and the world’s focus had swung towards China. Fully intending to continue portrait photography, his work took a change of direction. The alien visual landscape of Hong Kong reignited a fascination with documenting the immediate environment; the rural English landscapes of his youth were replaced by the chaotic cityscapes of Asia.
Furniss’ interest in cities led him to New York in 1999 with two years spent there developing his approach which today favours pre-visualisation of the image and cameraonly manipulations to create a subjective but recognisable record of our time. His pictures are a testament to the belief that cities should be vibrant, enjoyable, sustainable, democratic places that enable a positive future for us on this planet. William’s ongoing project, Rain, consists of photographs shot through the water rushing down the windows of Hong Kong trams, during our frequent rainstorms. With the focus on this watery plane Hong Kong is at once diffused and distilled to its essence. Prints from this series are available for sale and enquiries of any kind can be addressed to William via his website, www.williamfurniss.com
Des Voeux Road
WHAT THEY SAID... Featured highlights of event speakers at FCC
Panel | The Hong Kong Protests: What Happened and What’s Next
The Hong Kong protests were fairly new when this panel convened to discuss where the protest movement had sprung from and which direction it would take next. First the panellists tackled the movement’s roots. Bonnie Leung is vice convenor of the Civil Human Rights Front, comprised of 50 organisations, NGOs and political parties. She said: “After the Umbrella Movement a lot of HK people were depressed, they didn’t know where to go to make our city a better place. In the anti-extradition movement, I think we have found hope again. We are coming out this year in better shape and we are doing better.” Antony Dapiran, lawyer and writer, and the author of City of Protest: A Recent History of Dissent in Hong Kong, said: “In the two years after my book was published, I was asked whether protest in HK was dead, because of the feeling that the Umbrella Movement had failed. The protesters didn’t meet their aims, which led to disillusionment. “But the underlying motivation was still there, waiting for a trigger to spark protest again. Protest is a special part of HK’s identity. People can’t voice their feelings via the ballot box in HK. So protests become a performance of identity. It turned out that the extradition bill came along, and this huge movement burst out.” Quartz journalist Mary Hui, an inaugural Clare Hollingworth Fellow at the FCC, said: “Each time a protest has happened [recently], it has been larger than expected. Protesters want to ‘be like water’, take on Bruce Lee’s famous tactic. We don’t know what to expect. You see HK culture wrapped in a package, that comes out differently each time. And the use of Cantonese means that if you get the inside joke, it makes you feel closer to each other.” Moderator Shibani Mahtani asked the panel to explain how the protests can be leaderless, as protesters claim.
Leung said: “We don’t want to give instruction, but information, to people. We facilitate and coordinate; we are the applicants for letters of no objection, we make sure the marchers are safe. Every protester is their own leader.” Mahtani added: “What is the pressure on you then when something more radical happens, like the [July 1] attack on LegCo?” “When protesters love HK so much that they will take more radical action, we have to protect them and give them legal and emotional support. We must keep all our protesters united,” Leung replied. Dapiran said each protest builds on the previous one. “The current movement has drawn on the experiences of the Umbrella. They saw that an extended occupation didn’t work. These small and highly mobile units can just get up and move on. Now the movement is moving out to the suburbs, we have Lennon Walls springing up. We are spreading it out across the community.” So, what will come next? Mahtani asked. Leung said: “All the protests are organised by netizens; these voluntary actions all over our city can really give our government a headache. It has to listen because the people are all over the place.” Dapiran added “this participatory democracy mirrors what the protesters want”. Asked if protest exhaustion could set in, Leung said: “At the beginning, when we had 1million then 2million protesters, and the weather is very hot, then of course we worried. But HK people will come out again and again when our city needs us.” Could it get more radical and go over the edge, the panel was asked? Leung answered: “I think it’s a self-improving mechanism, so don’t believe that will happen.” Lunch, July 10, Sue Brattle
PHOTOS: MAY JAMES
From left, Bonnie Leung, moderator Shibani Mahtani, Antony Dapiran and Mary Hui
See recordings of Speakers’ events in full: www.fcchk.org/events
Alan Hoo, Tim Summers | Is the Sino-British Joint Declaration Dead?
Has Hong Kong entered a new phase of its history following the political unrest seen in recent months? Tim Summers, of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, thinks this is likely. “We’re on the edge, I think, of a governance vacuum in Hong Kong,” he said. “Politics has moved to the streets, and there we’re seeing a power struggle. “We have revolutionaries at one end, the special administrative region government and the central government at the other, and the mass of Hong Kong people somewhere in the middle.” Summers, a lecturer at the university’s Centre for China Studies, was speaking at an FCC lunchtime panel session on the Sino-British Joint Declaration. This document, signed by Britain and China in 1984, laid the foundation for the handover of Hong Kong in 1997. It states that Hong Kong will retain a high degree of autonomy for 50 years after the transfer, and sets out the basis of the “one country, two systems” framework. Summers and his fellow speaker, Senior Counsel Alan Hoo, were asked to consider whether the declaration is dead. Summers drew attention to the choice of the word “dead”, used in the official description of the extradition bill that triggered the unrest. “The joint declaration is still valid and relevant,” said Summers. “That doesn’t mean it can do everything that is being claimed for it in some of the recent debates. “It does not, for example, give Britain responsibilities for the freedom and wellbeing of Hong Kong. Nor does it contain any Chinese undertakings to keep the British informed about Hong Kong up until 2047.” He said his assessment of how well the declaration had been implemented in the first 20 years after the handover was “pretty positive on the whole”. Major goals such as ensuring that Hong Kong’s separate economic, financial and legal systems continued had been a success.
He cited the protests as proof that rights and freedoms had been preserved, and said freedom of information was “alive and well in Hong Kong”. But while the SAR has retained its distinctive way of life and distinctive system, there have been problems. “Progress on democratic development has been slow… The city’s politics has become increasingly fragmented, polarised and dysfunctional.” Hoo, chairman of the Basic Law Institute, focused on the unrest rather than the declaration in his opening remarks. “It is a very critical time that has brought a deep division in Hong Kong society that nobody realised... was so deep. “Now it’s not just about the rendition amendment bill, it’s about a whole host of things. It’s about, do we want to associate with the central government, do we want to be part of mainland China, how do we guard our autonomy?” Hoo, a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, said there could be no quick fix as feelings were running high on both sides, and there would have to be compromise. He was critical of the protesters who trashed the Legislative Council chamber, and said the legislature was in paralysis. The audience witnessed the rare sight of someone saying something positive about Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s embattled chief executive. “Carrie Lam is a very good, conscientious civil servant,” Hoo said as he argued that she did not have a political persona or political antennae. Hoo referred at one point to the Treaty of Nanjing, under which China ceded Hong Kong to Britain at the end of the first Opium War. By an odd coincidence, this FCC event was held on the 177th anniversary – to the day – of the signing of the treaty on August 29, 1842.
Lunch, August 29, Colin Simpson
With exquisite – if unintentional — timing, Ireland’s Financial Services Minister Michael D’Arcy came to the FCC to talk about Ireland’s views about a no-deal Brexit from the European Union just as Britain was embarking on what was billed as one of its most tumultuous political episodes for decades. D’Arcy had already whetted our appetites with his recent tweet comparing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to Britain’s Oliver Cromwell, infamous for enacting brutal military actions in Ireland in the 1600s, including massacres of civilians. D’Arcy was slapped down by his colleagues for that comment. So it was perhaps inevitable that anyone at the Club lunch who was anticipating further intemperate rushes of blood on D’Arcy’s part was going to be disappointed. At the same time he pulled no punches on what Ireland regards as the profoundly serious consequences of Britain crashing out of the EU on October 31 without a deal to soften the economic and political blows. And he made it clear where at least part of the blame lay – with Boris Johnson. A somewhat hoarse-voiced (from shouting about Johnson?) and jet-lagged D’Arcy said Brexit would come at a cost to all parties involved. And the cost would not just be financial. “We cannot understate the risks a no-deal Brexit poses to the peace and stability of Northern Ireland.” Avoiding the creation of a “hard border” between Ireland and Northern Ireland as a result of Brexit was not just about trade, customs and regulatory controls. D’Arcy said it also protected the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement that ended what he called “three decades of madness” in the North. “We are not prepared to have the risk of losing peace in the island of Ireland under any circumstances.” He said the backstop insurance policy, under which
a seamless border would be maintained on the island of Ireland, was the only viable solution to preserving the all-Ireland economy and protecting the Good Friday agreement. “It is why Prime Minister Johnson’s proposal to abolish the backstop is completely unacceptable.” He added that it was deeply worrying that the UK has stepped back from the withdrawal agreement hammered out with the EU. “In a no-deal scenario there are no easy answers.” Asked about the possibility of amending the backstop, D’Arcy replied: “We are prepared to listen to any solutions that the UK government has to offer. But as of yesterday, nothing new has been presented to the European Union.” He also said the EU was prepared to be flexible – but only about the wording of the political declaration, the document that accompanies the withdrawal agreement that the UK parliament has rejected three times. On the agreement he was adamant. “The withdrawal agreement is concluded. It is finished. It will not be reopened.” He added: “There should be no illusions. A no-deal Brexit will be very damaging for Ireland, for the EU, but particularly for the UK.” He noted that some people in the UK – he didn’t specify who – still believe that the EU will not allow the UK to crash out without a deal. “They are wrong.” He was also asked about what would happen if Britain refused to cough up the payments it is due to make for exiting the EU. But he swatted that one aside, joking that it was a subject above his pay grade. D’Arcy had been due to talk about the effect of a no-deal Brexit on Hong Kong, but he didn’t get around to that. No matter. Hong Kong obviously has more than enough to think about at present. Lunch, September 2, Jonathan Sharp
Michael D’Arcy | Brexit: An Irish Perspective
See recordings of Speakers’ events in full: www.fcchk.org/events
David Ignatius | Threats to Press Freedom: A Veteran Journalist Speaks About Global Media Under Attack
When David Ignatius of The Washington Post came to the Club to talk about his late colleague Jamal Khashoggi, he was preparing a closer look at the journalist’s death to be published on October 2, the first anniversary of the killing. Ignatius, who writes a twice-weekly column for the Post, won the 2019 George Polk Award for a series that uncovered the role of Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the crime. But there was obviously more to come: “I will be looking at the details more closely,” he said. “We are focused on a colleague, but Saudis from every walk of life are affected.” He said that when Khashoggi arrived in Washington in 2017, “he knew he was a marked man”. “I don’t mean he thought he’d be assassinated, but he knew things were dangerous. In the final months of his life he wished he could run away to a desert island – but he knew he couldn’t.” Ignatius, who has filled numerous roles at The Wall Street Journal and the Post, and was formerly executive editor of the International Herald Tribune, said Khashoggi would want people to talk about him honestly, despite the horrific nature of his death at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. “He was a complicated person; he had that loveable thing that made him a troublemaker.” It meant, generally, that Khashoggi rarely kept any job for long before he annoyed his bosses and they fired him.
But given that Keith Richburg, a former FCC President, had introduced Ignatius saying “this has been an annus horribilis for journalists”, and Ignatius said “journalists get killed almost every day of the year”, why does Khashoggi’s death in particular stick in our minds so vividly? Ignatius listed the reasons: “First, he worked for the Post and we took his death seriously. Our owner Jeff Bezos was unyielding and it has cost him business in Saudi Arabia. The cover-up was absurd. The brutality of the dismemberment of the body makes it unforgettable.” Against a backdrop of journalists being labelled “enemies of the people” by U.S. President Donald Trump, Ignatius said he found it difficult to know what to say to young journalists keen to do their job, but going into harm’s way. “My advice as a foreign editor always was to ask journalists to report aggressively but not incur serious injury.” Later he added: “Reporters must report but good editors must learn to say no [and not send them on stories that endanger their lives].” He said: “Young people see themselves as more engaged, campaigning. At the risk of being old-fashioned, this is the time to hold onto the idea that we can be fair and let people make up their own minds.” In Hong Kong, he said: “The challenge is to remain objective when things are so emotional.” Asked about social media, he said: “There is now a process of shaming people who hold views that are not liked. This leads to self-censorship and we should speak out more than we do. Journalists should be in solidarity with other journalists and the freedom of self-expression.” It transpired that Ignatius had strong ties with the FCC. He’d travelled with Robin Moyer in the Middle East; begged cheaper rates for AFP’s services for the International Herald Tribune from Vice-President Eric Wishart in the 1990s; he’d recruited FCC President Jodi Schneider when he was Business Editor of The Washington Post; and been Keith Richburg’s boss (“the legendary Keith as we knew him”) when he was the Post’s Foreign Editor.
David Ignatius’ message in the Club guest book
Lunch, September 16, Sue Brattle
TIMELY REMINDER THAT INVESTING IN WINE ISN’T NECESSARILY A BARREL OF LAUGHS As a trading hub for wine, Hong Kong has seen the price and volume of Burgundy coming into Asia rocket. The region’s first Master of Wine – who’s an FCC member – has just launched a book on the subject. Colin Simpson reports
WHY IS BURGUNDY A SUCCESS STORY IN ASIA? An affinity between Burgundy and Asian food is one of the reasons the wines have become more popular in the region, Jeannie Cho Lee said at the Hong Kong launch of her new book at the Mandarin Oriental on September 4. “With Cantonese food, with Japanese food, with a lot of Asian cuisines, Burgundy reds are actually more suitable than the tannic, bigger Bordeaux reds,” she said. A disenchantment with Bordeaux in 2010 and 2011 also gave Burgundy a boost in Asia, she said. Prices set by leading Bordeaux producers were seen as too high, and collectors who bought the wines as an investment found that values did not increase. In addition, some felt Bordeaux had become commonplace, while top Burgundies – which are produced in much smaller volumes – had an attractive rarity value.
PHOTO: SUPPLIE D
lobal demand for Burgundy has soared in recent years, along with the prices of the finest wines – and Asia has helped drive this trend. Exports of Burgundy to Hong Kong rose 8.8 percent by volume and a whopping 24.5 per cent by value last year, according to the Bourgogne Wine Board. Data from Liv-ex, the global marketplace for the wine trade, show that the prices of top Burgundies have rocketed ahead of those of other leading wine regions and countries. The most sought-after wines routinely command eyewatering prices. For example, this year Romanée-Conti 2015 sold for HK$198,400 per bottle at an Acker auction in Hong Kong, which is a major regional trading and distribution hub for wine.
Jeannie Cho Lee with her latest book
However, Burgundy is a tricky, complex region, and for buyers there is the added problem of counterfeit wines. Given all this, the appearance of a helpful guide in the form of The 100 Burgundy: Exceptional Wines to Build a Dream Cellar by Jeannie Cho Lee is timely. Hong Kongbased Lee, an FCC member, is the first Asian Master of Wine. The book has descriptions of 100 of Lee’s favourite Burgundies with information about the domaines that produce them. In her introduction, Lee says that rather than going into the microscopic details of terroir, viticulture, fragmented vineyard holdings, or winemaking choices, she aims to provide an “impressionistic” portrait of the wines. Despite this, there is some talk of “cool pre-fermentation maceration” and the like, which may not interest the general reader. Also, the exact dimensions of the featured domaines’ many tiny parcels of land are listed, something that wine buyers might not find particularly useful. The descriptions of the wines, based on knowledge built up from countless tastings over many years, are authoritative and give a good sense of what they are like. For example, she compares two wines from Domaine de la Romanée‑Conti, Burgundy’s greatest property – the extremely scarce Romanée‑Conti, mentioned above, and its stablemate La Tâche: “La Tâche is clearly more forceful, more vigorous, and well defined; it is also earlier maturing and much easier to enjoy young.” The book is handsomely illustrated, and there’s lots of useful advice on buying Burgundy, building up a cellar and serving the wines. On the subject of counterfeiting, Lee says the growing number of fakes is a concern for Burgundy lovers. She adds: “My personal experience with wines in Asia shows that we need to be more vigilant than ever… as prices increase for all Burgundy wines, fakes will expand quickly.” The 100 Burgundy: Exceptional Wines to Build a Dream Cellar, by Jeannie Cho Lee (Assouline, HK$580).
‘TANK MAN’ PHOTOGRAPHER CHARLIE COLE DIES
PHOTO: ©ROBIN MOYER
he photojournalist who took the picture that will forever represent the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 died last month in Bali aged 64. Charlie Cole’s Tank Man was included in the FCC’s June Wall exhibition marking the 30th anniversary of the protests. Born in the U.S., Cole spent more than half his life living outside the States in seven different countries. His career began at the Black Star Photo Agency and then later the Picture Group in New York, before he moved to Tokyo “because it was in the heart of a dynamic region and not well covered”. This led to a 10-year contract with Newsweek magazine, covering Asia. Cole said: “It was a period which saw some of the most dramatic events and changes in the world’s history. From Afghanistan to Beijing to Jakarta to Tokyo, it was an amazing time.” He was one of four photographers who captured the moment one man faced up to a row of tanks in Tiananmen Square, but it was Cole who won the World Press Photo of the Year Award 1990. He regretted the picture becoming the iconic symbol of the protests, and felt that other photographers covering the event deserved equal recognition. Cole lived in Bali for the last 15 years of his life, often battling pain after a motorcycle accident in Tokyo that left him with serious leg injuries. He leaves a widow, Rosanna.
ABOVE: Charlie Cole in the early 1990s LEFT: Charlie Cole’s contact sheet with the Tank Man image
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JOURNALIST WHO CONQUERED THE CLOSED WORLD OF JADE CARVING IN CHINA Former BBC reporter Andrew Shaw is proof that there is life after journalism, even if it took extreme changes for him to achieve it. Kate Whitehead tells his unusual story Master jade carver Andrew Shaw in his workshop in Suzhou
disgraced British pop star Gary Glitter. He knew it was time to do something else. “I put my affairs in order and the next year got a plane to China, and went to Suzhou, where I heard there was a jade carving centre, and started looking for someone to teach me to carve jade,” says Shaw. It was a bold move. It was 2008, the year of the Beijing Olympics, and it took some sweet talking to explain to immigration why a former BBC reporter suddenly wanted to live in Suzhou. What’s more, the then 51-year-old didn’t speak a word of Chinese. But he was determined. He enrolled in a Chinese class at the local university and then set about trying to find his way into the carving industry. “The words to ‘carve jade’ and ‘go fishing’ are very similar, so quite often people would say, ‘Oh, you like to go fishing’. Even when I showed them a piece of jade, they’d say, ‘So where do you go fishing?’” says Shaw. After seven months he had a basic grasp of the language and found the city’s network of jade carving alleys where thousands of jade carvers worked in small workshops. “I went from workshop to workshop for six months asking people whether they’d teach me to carve jade. People don’t like to say no, they drink tea with you. Most jade carvers retire at 50 and I was already over 50,” says Shaw. Eventually, he found a man who agreed to let him use a spindle and gave him old pieces of jade to carve and Shaw went there every afternoon for two years. Then he set up his own workshop and sold his pieces in the local market. All the hard work paid off in 2016, when he won a medal in the Zi Gang
Bey Jade Carving Competition in Suzhou. The following year, he invited international carvers to enter and it’s now the world’s only international jade carving competition. When he proposed to his wife, Ann, who he met in Suzhou, he gave her a flawless piece of white jade. “A flawless piece of white jade is difficult to get hold of and cost a lot. She’s never taken it off since I gave it to her,” says Shaw. Today the couple runs Ann’s English Tea House and Restaurant, a cafe with jade gallery attached, beside Jinji Lake. Although Shaw has turned his back on journalism, he hasn’t stopped writing and this year released Jade Life: An Englishman’s Love Affair with China’s National Treasure, published by Earnshaw Books. “It’s about the Chinese jade industry as told from the perspective of a Western jade carver. The book has a journalistic rigour to it, with plenty of interviews, and I’ve factchecked all the sources,” says Shaw, the only foreign master jade carver in China. n
Kate Whitehead has lived in Hong Kong since she was seven. She is a journalist and author of two non-fiction crime books - After Suzie: Sex in South China and Hong Kong Murders.
lenty of hardened hacks fantasise at some point or other about getting out of journalism. For veteran BBC reporter Andrew Shaw that urge had been gnawing at him for some years before he made the leap. The Londoner had no interest in taking the well-trodden route to the dark side, PR, and his transition was such a radical shift it took everyone by surprise. The seed for change was planted in 2002, when Shaw took a four-month sabbatical from a job he no longer enjoyed and much-needed time out from caring for his mother who was seriously ill. “I was fed up with journalism, I’d got everything I wanted to out of it, I’d done everything I needed to do, I was just repeating myself, it was time to do something else,” says Shaw. For four carefree months he lived in Thailand in a hut on the beach, did yoga, went to a Buddhist retreat and laughed at the sheer joy of being alive – and not at work. On the last day of his trip, while visiting Wat Doi Suthep, the temple overlooking the northern city of Chiang Mai, he stumbled into a small jade shop. A beautiful lavender jade Buddha caught his eye. “As soon as I touched it, it just sang to me, such a beautiful stone, I fell in love with jade at that moment,” says Shaw. From there it was back to the grindstone at the BBC and his filial obligations, but his holiday romance with jade didn’t fade, it became a fully-fledged obsession. Every time he was sent on assignment overseas, he went looking for jade. In Hong Kong, he spent three days haggling over a piece. In 2006, his mother died when he was in Vietnam covering the trial of
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The official magazine of the Foreign Correspondents' Club, Hong Kong.