Statement from Stephen Perry, Chairman of 48 Group Club (30/06/2020):
It has come to the attention of the 48 Group Club that it and some of its members and fellows have been the focus of press reports in recent weeks. We make this statement to set out and confirm the position and role of the 48 Group Club.
It has been reported in the media that we have initiated legal proceedings against the authors of a book entitled “Hidden Hand”. This is not the case. The Club’s legal advisors wrote to the publishers after the book was drawn to the Club’s attention through a German media enquiry and the Club and its members were previously unaware of the book. It became clear that the book contained a number of inaccurate and potentially libellous statements relating to the role and function of the 48 Group Club and some of its members. On taking legal advice the Club wrote to the publishers of the book to request sight of the text and opportunity to correct and respond to the errors in the book. Errors have been acknowledged by the publishers and we are working to correct the others.
Role of the 48 Group Club
The 48 Group Club is an independent, not for profit company owned by its members on an entirely voluntary basis. It also has associate members and we award honours for those who have a made a positive contribution to UK-China relations. These associate members have no connection with the Club other than that honour, unless a separate contribution to the Club established. As an open and progressive forum we benefit from different views on China which are all discussed internally.
Being an independent body, the 48 Group Club does not have a formal relationship with any other organisation, whether inside or outside China. The only income we receive is from membership subscriptions and sponsorship of events, all of which is properly recorded and placed in the public domain, the same as for any properly regulated UK company.
As a body with well over six decades of work on China, we are naturally known to many organisations, bodies and individuals with a similar focus and interests and maintain normal contacts with them. However, we are not part of any ‘network’, nor do we constitute one.
We believe that our long experience provides us with a detailed understanding and interesting perspectives on China that many find useful.