FT journalist given seven days to leave Hong Kong

Elias Hubbard
October 10, 2018

He said the denial of a visa to Mallet "sets a awful precedent for Hong Kong's reputation as a place where the rule of law applies and where freedom of speech is protected by law".

A leading Financial Times journalist has been given seven days to leave Hong Kong as a backlash mounted on Monday against an unprecedented challenge to freedom of the press in the city.

Victor Mallet, Asia news editor for the Financial Times, was denied a renewal of his visa on Friday, in what many believe to be a reprisal for his chairing of a talk by Hong Kong independence activist Andy Chan in August at the Foreign Correspondent's Club (FCC), where Mallet serves as vice president.

Hong Kong journalist groups have expressed dismay over the government's refusal to renew a work visa for a Financial Times editor.

"What you said is pure speculation", she told reporters. She reiterated the position of other senior officials that authorities would not comment on an individual visa, and that the decision accorded with the law and the specific circumstances of the case.

"In the absence of an explanation from the authorities we can only conclude that this move is politically motivated", Hunt said.

Mallet's case sets a worrying precedent and "risks damaging Hong Kong's worldwide standing", Maja Kocijancic, the European Union's spokeswoman for foreign affairs and security policy, said in a statement.

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. Hong Kong's right to protect its legitimate interests was "beyond criticism", he said.

A spokesman for the Australian consulate in Hong Kong told Reuters it was concerned, and urged the Hong Kong government to "safeguard freedoms" as enshrined in the Basic Law.

Mallet, who is in Hong Kong on a tourist visa that expires on Sunday, thanked all those supported him, including journalists, lawyers and citizens.

Petitions demanding an explanation from the government, in English and Chinese, have garnered more than 25,000 signatures in total.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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