The Financial Times (FT) Asia news editor Victor Mallet has had his application to renew his work visa in Hong Kong rejected by the government.
While Hong Kong, which is governed by China, did not explain its decision, it is widely believed that this is a reaction by Beijing to the British national’s role in Hong Kong’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) decision to host a talk by a separatist speaker in August.
Mallet, who is the vice president of the FCC, was the acting president when the club invited Andy Chan, the head of a fringe nationalist party calling for Hong Kong's independence from China, to speak.
The FT said this is the first time such an incident has occurred in Mallet’s two years in the country, while the FCC said: "Hong Kong rightly prides itself on its reputation as a place where the rule of law applies and where freedom of speech is protected by law. In the absence of any reasonable explanation, the FCC calls on the Hong Kong authorities to rescind their decision."
A former British colony, Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997. The UK Foreign Office has asked Hong Kong's authorities for an ‘urgent explanation" of the visa rejection.