Hong Kong leader refuses to explain UK journalist’s visa denial


HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam, has refused to explain why her government declined to renew the visa of a British journalist, in an unprecedented case that has raised questions about the city’s press freedoms.

The Financial Times said last week that its Asia editor, Victor Mallet, had been refused a visa to continue working in the city. The denial comes two months after Mallet hosted a speech by the pro-independence activist Andy Chan, despite calls from authorities to cancel the event.

On Sunday, Mallet, who has lived in Hong Kong for more than seven years, was given seven days to leave Hong Kong.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Lam said she would not comment on individual immigration cases. Asked whether Mallet had been denied a visa as punishment for hosting Chan, Hong Kong’s chief executive replied: “What you said is pure speculation.”

While insisting that “freedom of expression, freedom of reporting, are core values in Hong Kong”, Lam said her government would “not tolerate advocacy of Hong Kong independence, which threatens national security, territorial integrity and development interests”. Hong Kong, a former British colony, was returned to China in 1997 under an agreement it would retain a high degree of autonomy and freedoms, including a free media environment, that citizens in mainland China do not have. —Agencies


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