Former chief executive Leung Chun-ying said on Saturday that promoting Hong Kong independence was comparable to promoting “racism, anti-semitism or Nazism,” or denying the existence of the Nanjing massacre or Holocaust.

Andy Chan, convener of the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party, is due to speak at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) on Tuesday. HKFP first reported on August 3 that the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong tried to stop the event. Leung since emerged as a high-profile critic of the press club.

cy Leung Chun-ying
Leung Chun-ying. File photo: European Business Summit, via Flickr.

Leung’s comments on Saturday were his ninth Facebook post on the subject, published over eight consecutive days. In his post, he said that “on certain subjects, equal opportunity in a debate is no defence.”

“Would the Club invite speakers who promote racism, anti-semitism or Nazism? Ditto speakers who claim that the Holocaust and Nanjing massacre are figments of imagination? I advise not,” he said.

“Severing Hong Kong from China is an absolute red line,” he added.

Francis Moriarty
Francis Moriarty. Photo: FCC Hong Kong.

Leung addressed his latest comments to journalist and former FCC board member Francis Moriarty. Last week, Moriarity publicly rebutted Leung’s claim that the FCC only pays a “token rent” for its Central premises.

Moriarty published a reply on Sunday, saying that Leung was “dealing in false analogies that seek to mislead.”

“Simply put, CY, a persuasive argument on censorship cannot be based on false equivalence,” Moriarty said.

Maria Tam
Maria Tam Wai-chu. File Photo: GovHK.

Maria Tam, the vice-chairperson of the Basic Law Committee of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, said on Sunday that it was unnecessary for the FCC to host Chan’s talk – though she stopped short of opposing the event.

“It is unnecessary for the FCC to provide a platform to promote Hong Kong independence just to prove that Hong Kong has the freedom of speech,” Tam told reporters at an event.

“Anyone can call a radio or television station to criticise anyone or anything they want,” she added.

She also voiced support for the decision by RTHK head Leung Ka-wing to stop the public broadcaster from live-streaming Chan’s talk. A live-stream of the speech would create an impression that RTHK was sympathetic to Chan’s point of view, Tam said.

The FCC issued a statement on August 6 committing to hosting Chan’s talk, and did not respond further to comments by Leung or other political figures. It reported last Thursday that the talk was fully booked.

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Holmes Chan is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. He covers local news with a focus on law, politics, and social movements. He studied law and literature at the University of Hong Kong.