Bri­tish ed­i­tor re­fused en­try

San Francisco Chronicle - - WORLD -

HONG KONG — The Asia ed­i­tor of the Fi­nan­cial Times has been re­fused en­try to Hong Kong, weeks af­ter he was de­nied a new work visa in what crit­ics call an omi­nous sign of Bei­jing en­croach­ing on the semi­au­tonomous Chi­nese ter­ri­tory’s civil lib­er­ties.

The news­pa­per re­ported that Vic­tor Mal­let was turned away at the bor­der on Thurs­day af­ter be­ing ques­tioned for sev­eral hours. He had sought to en­ter as a vis­i­tor.

Mal­let’s visa re­jec­tion in Oc­to­ber came shortly af­ter he hosted a talk at the Hong Kong For­eign Cor­re­spon­dents’ Club by the head of a now-banned po­lit­i­cal party ad­vo­cat­ing the fi­nan­cial hub’s in­de­pen­dence from China.

Hong Kong’s im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­ity has given no ex­pla­na­tion for his ex­pul­sion.

The de­nial of a visa to Mal­let had been widely con­demned by jour­nal­ists, hu­man rights and civic so­ci­ety groups in Hong Kong, who saw it as a sign of China’s grow­ing en­croach­ment on free­dom of speech in the Asian fi­nan­cial hub.

Hong Kong was promised semi-au­ton­omy for 50 years as part of its 1997 han­dover from Bri­tish rule, al­low­ing it to re­tain its lim­ited democ­racy and rights to assem­bly and free speech that are de­nied on the Chi­nese main­land.

The For­eign Cor­re­spon­dents’ Club dates back more than 75 years to when Hong Kong was a Bri­tish colony.

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