She probably thought it was an issue that would soon be forgotten by everyone.
But during her five-day visit to Japan, which started on Monday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor realized that the controversy over British journalist Victor Mallet remained fresh in the minds of Japanese journalists.
In a media session following the “Think Global, Think Hong Kong” symposium in Tokyo on Thursday, the chief executive was confronted by Japanese journalists with questions about her government’s decision not to extend the work visa for the Asia news editor of the Financial Times, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
They asked her whether the move indicated her government was tightening restrictions on press freedom and freedom of expression in the territory.
Mallet was acting head of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club when it hosted on Aug. 14 a luncheon speech by pro-independence activist Andy Chan Ho-tin in defiance of warnings from the government and pro-Beijing personalities. Chan’s Hong Kong National Party was outlawed a month after.
Lam sought to allay the journalists’ concerns, telling them that the One Country, Two Systems policy is still being implemented in Hong Kong.
Many overseas media organizations, including Japanese news outlets, continue to use Hong Kong as their regional base, which by itself is a very good indication that press freedom is alive and well in the city, RTHK quoted Lam as telling the Japanese reporters.
Lam also invited the Japanese journalists to come to Hong Kong to see for themselves the situation in the city, and asked them not to allow their perception of Hong Kong to be affected by some reports.
Meanwhile, the Legislative Council vetoed a motion to summon Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu and Director of Immigration Erick Tsang Kwok-wai to testify on the non-renewal of Mallet’s work visa.
The motion, introduced by pro-democracy lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-ching of HK First, was defeated by 36 votes to 24.
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