A Forbes contributor says his contract has been terminated after an article he wrote about Chinese influence at the Asia Society was deleted by the magazine.
The piece by American analyst Anders Corr questioned the role of local tycoon Ronnie Chan after the Hong Kong centre “barred” democracy activist Joshua Wong from speaking at an event. The article disappeared from the Forbes website within days of it being published on July 10. Chan, co-chair of the American NGO, has denied involvement in the controversy over Wong.
Corr was told on Friday that his contract with Forbes had been terminated.
Ronnie Chan is a real estate developer, philanthropist and outspoken supporter of former chief executive Leung Chun-ying.
Forbes Asia Digital Director Paul Armstrong previously told HKFP that its standard practice was to remove articles “if we feel there are certain issues – editorial or not – that we need to address.”
Armstrong declined to openly comment on whether Chan had been in touch, but confirmed so in emails to Corr seen by HKFP.
According to Corr, Chan had directly complained that his “business acumen” was not fairly represented and that he was not contacted before publication. Corr said he had, in fact, tried to contact the billionaire through the Asia Society.
The piece, entitled Chinese Influence At The Asia Society: Elitism And Radicalization In Hong Kong, was republished in full on the Asia Sentinel website last week.
In the Friday social media post, Corr also criticised another recent article on Forbes for using pro-Beijing language, having grammatical errors and “paper-thin” analysis.
Corr claimed Forbes was 95 per cent owned by an “obscure” Hong Kong-based company called Integrated Whale Media: “[It] is well on the way to losing credibility in its foreign policy analysis,” he said.
Responding to the incident, Joshua Wong said it was “upsetting” to learn that Corr’s contract had been terminated.
“I hope that Forbes will still try to retain its integrity as an important player in the media landscape, and respect freedom of expression,” he wrote.
“I also condemn the political censorship exercised during this period. Press freedom is more important now than ever.”
Forbes declined to comment when contacted by HKFP.