On February 5, 2020, immigration authorities at Hong Kong International Airport barred journalist Michael Yon from entering the city, according to news reports and Yon, who spoke to CPJ by telephone from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Yon, a U.S. citizen, maintains his own online magazine, where he has posted frequent reports on human rights issues and has covered the demonstrations that began in Hong Kong in summer 2019 against a proposed bill that would have allowed for extradition to China. He was in Thailand when he decided to travel to Hong Kong to continue reporting there, he said.
Yon told CPJ that immigration officials said he could take a return flight to Thailand or he could fly to the United States, but would not tell him why he was not allowed to enter Hong Kong. He told CPJ he chose to return to Thailand, afraid that he might be quarantined in the U.S. for having attempted to go to Hong Kong amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Yon said authorities did not search his belongings or question him about his work.
In an email to CPJ, the Hong Kong Immigration Department said it did not comment on individual cases, but handles each case in “accordance with the laws and immigration policies.”
Yon said that his writing openly favors the Hong Kong demonstrators and criticizes China’s Communist Party.