Editor’s note: Allan Zeman, chairman of Lan Kwai Fong Group, took issue with Wall Street Journal’s editorial “No one is safe in Hong Kong (Dec 29, 2021), saying in his letter to the Journal that “it totally misrepresents to your readers the true facts of what is now happening in Hong Kong”.
4th January 2022
Wall Street Journal
I was shocked to read your editorial "No One Is Safe In Hong Kong" (December 29, 2021) as I believe all the facts in your article are totally incorrect and I can't believe that was any research done to arrive at these conclusions. I am a businessman living in Hong Kong for over 50 years and am an avid reader of the Wall Street Journal. I think the facts present the wrong picture to your readers.
The decision by two online media outlets here to shut down over the span of a week had no direct link to press freedom in Hong Kong, or the national security law. Stand News announced it was halting all operations after seven people associated with the group — including former editors and board members — were arrested on sedition charges.
Hong Kong has one of the freest societies in Asia and we also have one of the best police forces in the world. Hong Kong has a strong rule of law and a very independent judiciary. The judges are both local and international. This is the reason most businesses from all over the world continue to operate in Hong Kong.
The 2019 protests in Hong Kong were a wakeup call that the train had left the track and needed to be put back. Not unlike what the US experienced on January 6, 2021, in Washington. Stand News was an internet portal that consistently published seditious stories and incited people to cause disruptions within the society. The police acted according to the crime ordinance and the law. The arrested people will have to face a fair trial by the courts and ultimately be judged by an independent judiciary according to the law based on the evidence that is collected. Freedom of speech and of the press are protected under the Basic Law and Hong Kong Bill of Rights.
Hong Kong has always had a very robust and open media which is very competitive and continues to be free as long as they act within the law. This is not unlike what you follow in the US. It is very unfair of your newspaper to print such tabloid material.
Your assertion that the Government "rigged" the Legislative Council election is also incorrect. I was personally a candidate in this election. I can tell you first-hand that everything was conducted in a fair, open and honest manner. The Legislative Council that we have had in the past was not working well because almost every government bill was being filibustered for 3-5 months. This was affecting the life of the society in Hong Kong as government projects were delayed and Hong Kong was stuck.
The new LegCo will definitely be an improvement on what Hong Kong is used to and I can see the future for Hong Kong people's lives can only get better from here. Business will continue to thrive because of the stability that we now have.
The US has its own problems at the moment with many divisions in society. I think it would be better to try to fix your own problems before making comments which are not based on true facts. I normally would never write a letter like this but after reading your article, I have found that it totally misrepresents to your readers the true facts of what is now happening in Hong Kong. The future of Hong Kong looks very bright.
Allan Zeman, GBM, GBS, JP
Chairman, Lan Kwai Fong Group, Hong Kong