Taipei, October 5, 2018–Hong Kong’s immigration authorities declined to renew the visa of Victor Mallet, Financial Times’ Asia news editor and the vice-president of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, according to a statement today from the Financial Times and other media reports. The rejection came after Mallet chaired a talk by pro-independence activist Andy Chan Ho-tin at the club in August.
“Local media has already come under pressure in Hong Kong, but by denying a visa to Victor Mallet of the Financial Times, the government is sending an unmistakable message to all journalists that Hong Kong’s era of press freedom has come to an end,” said Steven Butler, the Committee to Protect Journalists’ Asia program coordinator, in Washington, D.C. “Hong Kong should reverse the decision to avoid severe damage to its reputation as an open society.”
The Financial Times statement said: “The Hong Kong authorities have rejected an application to renew the work visa of Victor Mallet, Asia news editor at the Financial Times. This is the first time we have encountered this situation in Hong Kong. We have not been given a reason for the rejection.”
CPJ’s call to the Hong Kong immigration department went unanswered.