Former British governor of Hong Kong Chris Patten has said it was “quite simply wrong” for Beijing to urge the city’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club to cancel a planned speech by an independence activist. Patten’s comments came after China’s ministry of foreign affairs stepped in to request the decades-old press club pull the talk by Andy Chan of the Hong Kong National Party, a group threatened with a ban. Semi-autonomous Hong Kong was handed back to China by Britain in 1997 under an agreement which protected its way of life for 50 years, giving it rights unseen on the mainland, including freedom of speech. But concern is growing that those freedoms are being eroded by an increasingly assertive Beijing. China’s foreign ministry recently requested a meeting with the FCC and asked for the event to be cancelled, a source told AFP. In a statement issued on Friday, the ministry said: “We resolutely oppose any external forces providing a platform for ‘Hong Kong independence’ elements to spread fallacies.” “There is no justification for censoring people because you don’t like what they have to say,” said Patten. He said freedom of speech was one of the “hallmarks of an open society living under… Read full this story
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