Hong Kong refuses entry to FT journalist Victor Mallet

Hong Kong refuses entry to FT journalist Victor Mallet

Hong Kong refuses entry to FT journalist Victor Mallet

Mallet was denied a work visa renewal in October without explanation although it is widely believed to be believed to have been a punishment for chairing a talk a pro-independence activist at the Foreign Correspondents' Club (FCC) in August.

"In considering any application for entry, we will be acting in accordance with the law and the prevailing immigration policy to make a decision", it said in an emailed statement on Friday.

In a statement Friday, the Hong Kong Journalists Association said that in barring Mallet's entry, the government was "severely violating the freedoms of press and speech, and further damaging the reputation and status of Hong Kong as an worldwide city", according to the newspaper South China Morning Post.

However, there are fears some of these freedoms are being eroded.

On Oct. 5, or almost two months after Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said that it was entirely inappropriate for the FCC to invite Chan to give a speech, Mallet's application to continue working in Hong Kong was denied.

The Hong Kong government will not be offering an explanation for its decision to bar British journalist Victor Mallet from entering Hong Kong as a tourist, Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu said on Friday.

Authorities have turned away British nationals before - activist Benedict Rogers, deputy chairman of the Conservative Party's human rights commission, was blocked by immigration after landing for what he said was a private trip in 2017. They said the government's decision has implications for Hong Kong's role as an open, global city where the press - including foreign media - can continue to operate freely.

The decision to effectively blacklist Mallet prompted a backlash against an unprecedented challenge to freedom of the press in the city.

An arts centre in Hong Kong hosting the city's annual global literary festival has cancelled appearances by Ma Jian, the exiled Chinese writer said on Thursday, in the latest example of China tightening its control on freedom of expression.

The venue's director Timothy Calnin said in a statement that it could not find an alternative venue for the exiled author, plus Ma had clarified that he would not promote a political platform.

"No bookshop would dare sell [China Dream]", Ma told local news outlet Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) last week.

Ma said it was Tai Kwun, not the festival, that had pulled his events.

Event organiser the Hong Kong International Literary Festival (HKILF) said in a statement that Central's Tai Kwun has offered to host the events as scheduled.

Ma responded on Twitter saying he was a "novelist not an activist" and was simply attending the festival to discuss his new work.

He is due to promote his latest novel China Dream at festival events Saturday, a title that plays on Chinese President Xi Jinping's rhetoric of national rejuvenation and is described by publisher Penguin as "a biting satire of totalitarianism". "Without them, life has no meaning".

Concerns have also been raised by the apparent kidnappings and prosecutions in China of independent booksellers and legal cases brought against pro-democracy legislators and organizers of large-scale anti-government protests in 2014.

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