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Hong Kong Tells Press Club: Free Speech Isn’t an Absolute Right

Aug 15 , 2018

HONG KONG—Hong Kong’s government and Chinese officials criticized the city’s foreign press club for allowing an advocate of independence from China to address international media.

Giving a platform to the head of the Hong Kong National Party, a fringe group that opposes Beijing’s rule over the territory, was “inappropriate and unacceptable,” the government said in a statement. It expressed regret the city’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club hadn’t heeded calls to cancel the event.

China’s foreign ministry condemned the speech, noting Beijing has a red linethat forbids discussion of secessionist ideas that undermine Chinese sovereignty. While Hong Kong’s mini-constitution guarantees free expression, the foreign ministry said “freedom of speech has a bottom line and a boundary,” and that talking about Hong Kong independence is unconstitutional and illegal.

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