Hong Kong permitted entry to a British journalist on a seven-day visitor visa after it decided not to renew his work visa, local media report.
As Victor Mallet, Asia news editor of The Financial Times (FT), returned to the city from Bangkok on Sunday, immigration officials questioned him but did not explain the shortened visitor visa. Tourist visa is normally valid for six months.
The newspaper said in a statement that they will continue their efforts to get a clarification from Hong Kong authorities on why Mallet’s work visa was not renewed.
Reports suggest that Mallet’s application for work visa renewal was rejected after he chaired a talk by Andy Chan Ho-tin, pro-independence leader of the now-banned Hong Kong National Party, in August at Foreign Correspondent’s Club (FCC), above, ignoring objections from Hong Kong and Beijing authorities.
The Human Rights Watch said the visa rejection and the ban on the Hong Kong National Party showed a quickening downward spiral for human rights in Hong Kong.
Some 7,000 journalists have signed a petition seeking the government’s explanation as to why Mallet was denied a work visa. The petition on behalf of FCC and five other media organisations was set to be given to the government. Mallet is the vice president of the FCC.
In an editorial late on Sunday night, FT said the visa denial sends a chilling message to everyone in Hong Kong about erosion of basic rights.