The Financial Times has said that its Asia editor, Victor Mallet, has been barred from entering Hong Kong, weeks after the government refused to renew his work visa.
Mallet, a British national, is also the vice-president of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong. He chaired a talk by pro-independence activist Andy Chan at the club in August, despite efforts by Chinese officials to block the event. Chan’s Hong Kong National Party was since banned.
According to a Financial Times report, Mallet “attempted to enter Hong Kong on Thursday as a visitor but was turned away at the border after several hours of questioning by immigration officers.”
According to a source, Mallet planned to come to Hong Kong to handover his duites as the FT’s Asia news editor. He flew to Bangkok after being denied entry to the city. British citizens can usually visit Hong Kong for 180 days.
The Financial Times has said they were not given a reason for the work visa rejection, and are appealing the decision.
The pro-democracy group Demosisto issued a statement on Friday urging the international community to take note of Hong Kong’s waning freedoms: “[E]xpelling him from Hong Kong was ridiculous enough, and a grave infringement of press freedom in itself. Banning him from the city altogether, even as a tourist, is nothing less than an authoritarian attempt to censor all opposing voices.”
“This development is extremely worrying, especially for journalists sent to this city to report on Hong Kong and Chinese political situations,” the group said.
17 former presidents of the Foreign Correspondents Club have sent a letter to HK Chief Executive Carrie Lam, asking for a public explanation for the visa denial of Financial Times Asia news editor Victor Mallet, & asking if the SAR government will continue to respect free speech. pic.twitter.com/PKYmDhZpO3
— Keith Richburg (@keithrichburg) November 8, 2018
The incident came after Tai Kwun cancelled two events by exiled Chinese writer Ma Jian, saying that the art space cannot be used as a political platform. The author is set to land in Hong Kong on Friday.