A while back the New York Times and Bloomberg used public data to show how wealthy the leaders of China are. And where their wealth is stashed away.
Lots of that information came from documents in Hong Kong. The pro-Beijing forces in Hong Kong just could not let that continue.
So the new government in Hong Kong put forth new laws that would restrict access to information about directors of companies listed on the Hong Kong exchange.
Under the proposal, corporate directors could apply to have their residential address and full identity card or passport numbers blocked from public view — a bid the government said was meant to protect their privacy.
But the plan has sparked an uproar among journalists as it comes amid concerns over Beijing’s meddling in local affairs and after a number of reports focusing on the wealth and assets of China’s ruling elite grabbed headlines.
And so journalists in Hong Kong have spoken up: Hong Kong journalists publish press freedom petition
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong reminded Hong Kong Chief Executive, C.Y. Leung of his promise to not restrict press freedom. (FCC Letter of Concern on a Proposed Change to the Companies Ordinance)
In your address to us last month you pledged to uphold the importance of a free and open media in Hong Kong and we believe that the ability of foreign correspondents and journalists to legally access information about individuals and their companies is vital to our role of reporting on issues of public interest.
We call on the government to withdraw this amendment and to maintain its support for the free flow of information in Hong Kong.
And seeing how the Hong Kong exchange is linked with markets in Europe and the Americas, it seems that any law that restricts vital access to information about Hong Kong companies also affects American and European companies.
Looks like what goes on in Hong Kong does indeed have an impact on what goes on in the United States. (There’s that old Local-Global thing again.)