Pro-China Newspaper: Not Killing the British Journalist Shows How Civilised China Is
While the denial of Victor Mallet’s visa renewal application is concerned as a threat to the freedom of the press in Hong Kong, Ta Kung Pao, a local pro-China newspaper, defend the government’s decision by arguing that simply asking Mallet to leave without shooting him dead is the most civilised response to his support to separatism in its headline.
Victor Mallet, who is the Financial Times’ Asia new editor and the Foreign Correspondents’ Clubs (FCC) first vice-president in Hong Kong, moderated a talk by pro-independence activist Andy Chan in August 2018. FCC was condemned by both Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Hong Kong Government for supporting separatism. The recent denial of Mallet’s visa renewal is suspected as a revenge by the Hong Kong government. FCC urged the Hong Kong government to provide a full explanation but the immigration department refuses.
Instead of cooling down the worries, Ta Kung Pao’s headline worsens the public concern. On 8 October, Ta Kung Pao publish a column article ‘When do UK and USA explain for Denials of Visa?’ (拒批簽證，英美何曾解釋？) written by Wat Wing-yin (屈穎妍), a pro-communist writer, on the front page. In her article, Wat blames UK and USA have never provided any explanation for the denial of visa applications. Then Wat concludes:
‘So when the Hong Kong Immigration Department denies Victor Mallet’s visa renewal, you should not be surprised. That’s sensible. You support separatism in our country and we merely ask you to leave without shooting you dead, which is the most civilised way of protest.
The Financial Times’ Asian News editor Victor Mallet has only been to Hong Kong for two years and is promoted to the FCC first vice-president. Because the president is always not in Hong Kong, Mallet is the person in charge of FCC. He is responsible for inviting Andy Chan from the Nationalist Party to the talk. Also, he moderated the talk on that day.’
Capital punishment has already been abandoned in Hong Kong since 1993 although it had not been administered since 1966. Capital punishment, however, is still permitted in the Article 33 of Criminal Code of the People’s Republic of China. There are 53 criminal offences eligible for the death penalty, including separatism under the article on national security. According to ‘One Country Two System’, however, Criminal Code of PRC is not administered in Hong Kong. Ta Kung Pao headline article fails to rationalise the government’s denial of Mallet’s visa renewal and seems to induce deeper worries about the execution of One Country Two Systems in Hong Kong, particularly whether the freedom of the press and the freedom of speech is still protected by the Basic Law in Hong Kong.