British editor refused entry
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.