Hong Kong’s government has rejected a visa for Financial Times editor Victor Mallet, following a talk by an independence activist in the city last month.
“This is the first time we have encountered this situation in Hong Kong,” the Financial Times said on the visa rejection. “We have not been given a reason for the rejection.”
Mallet is the vice-president of the Hong Kong’s Foreign Correspondents' Club (FCC), which hosted a talk by Andy Chan Ho-tin, convener of the Hong Kong National Party, calling for Hong Kong's independence from China. Moves are underway by Beijing to ban the party over its separatist stance.
China's ministry of foreign affairs had earlier urged the FCC to cancel the talk with, Hong Kong's top official, Carrie Lam, criticising it as "regrettable and inappropriate".
Leung Chun-ying, a former leader of Hong Kong, compared the event to giving ‘terrorists’ a platform. "Before long you will invite advocates for Taiwan independence to speak publicly at your club,” he said. “Following this logic, you most probably will not draw any line against criminals and terrorists. As I said, we ought to be gravely concerned."
Andy Chan responded to the attempts to cancel his talk by stating,"China is treating Hong Kong as a colony".
"It proves our point that it is China who is destroying Hong Kong's rights," he told the BBC. "The Hong Kong authorities acted out of obedience, the Beijing authorities out of hubris."
Meanwhile, the UK Foreign Office says it has asked Hong Kong's authorities for an "urgent explanation" of Mallet’s visa rejection.