The Asia editor of the Financial times the entry to Hong Kong was denied, weeks after a new work visa was withheld in what is called an ominous sign by Beijing of critics of the civil liberties of the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
The newspaper reported that Victor Mallet had been thrown away at the border on Thursday after being interrogated for several hours. He had tried to enter as a visitor.
Mallet & # 39; s rejection of the visa in October came shortly after he delivered a speech at the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Hong Kong by the head of a now-forbidden political party that advocated the independence of China's financial center .
This prompted strong criticism from the pro-Chinese elites of the area, some of whom called to kick the organization of the journalists from his club house in the central financial district.
The Hong Kong Immigration Authority has not issued a statement for its expulsion and replied on Friday with a statement that it "acts in accordance with the laws and policies and decides whether access will be granted or refused after careful consideration of the circumstances of each case. "
In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that Hong Kong had the right to decide who could enter the territory.
"As you know, for every country it's normal for people to travel around the world to allow or reject a visitor's visit according to the law governing entry and exit management," Hua said during a daily newsletter.
Despite the rejection of Mallet, Hong Kong allowed the dissident writer Ma Jian to attend a literary festival on Friday, even after an art center in the city canceled his appearance.
Shortly after his arrival, the organizers of the festival tweeted that the room had reversed its position and enabled it to speak.
Ma, whose novels often satirize Chinese communist leaders, told reporters at Hong Kong airport that he had not seen anything unusual when passing passport control.
"The lecture will certainly happen, if there is a person in Hong Kong who is willing to listen, or a reader who contacts me, I will be there," Ma said.
Ma speculated that behind the authorities a black hand & # 39; sat who checked the circumstances under which he could appear, but promised to communicate with readers about these days in Hong Kong, no matter how possible, & # 39 ;.
In a Friday statement, the Hong Kong Journalists Association said that by blocking Mallet's access, the government "seriously violated freedom of press and speech and further damaged Hong Kong's reputation and status as an international city," newspaper. South China Morning Post.
Pro-democracy lawmakers on the city council also expressed concerns about the incident, saying that the erosion of basic legal rights could damage Hong Kong's ability to attract foreign investment.
The refusal of a visa for Mallet was widely condemned by journalists, human rights and community groups in Hong Kong, who saw it as a sign of China's growing impairment of freedom of expression in the Asian financial center.
Concerns have also been raised about the apparent kidnappings and persecutions in China of independent booksellers and lawsuits against pro-democracy legislators and organizers of large-scale anti-government protests in 2014.
Hong Kong was promised semi-autonomy for 50 years as part of the transfer of the British administration in 1997, allowing it to retain its limited democracy and rights to assembly and freedom of expression that were refused on mainland China.
The Foreign Correspondents Club is dating more than 75 years ago when Hong Kong was a British colony.
During the August 14th reading at the FCC, Mallet introduced the international leader of the Hong Kong party, Andy Chan, by acknowledging official criticism while arguing the tolerance of the area for dissenting opinions.