Taipei, July 15, 2020 – In response to the Hong Kong Immigration Department’s denial of New York Times reporter Chris Buckley’s work permit, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement:
“Barring a New York Times journalist from working in Hong Kong violates the fundamental promise of press freedom given repeatedly to the Hong Kong people,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator, in Washington, D.C. “We urge Hong Kong immigration authorities to reverse this decision, which undermines the free flow of information critical to Hong Kong’s success.”
Buckley was required to leave mainland China in May after Chinese authorities declined to renew his journalist’s visa; last week, Hong Kong authorities also declined to renew his permit to work in the special administrative region without citing any specific reason, according to The New York Times and ABC News. The denial is an apparent violation of the Basic Law that guarantees Hong Kong residents’ freedom of the press.
The New York Times report said that the paper announced yesterday that it is relocating some of its Hong Kong-based operations to Seoul, South Korea, following China’s enactment of a new national security law.
Buckley recently covered the coronavirus outbreak and alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in March that all U.S. citizens working as journalists at The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post whose press credentials end in 2020 would be required to surrender those credentials within 10 days, effectively expelling them. Buckley, an Australian national, was not among those affected by that policy.
Buckley was previously forced to leave mainland China in 2012, after Chinese authorities refused to issue him a visa, as CPJ documented at the time.
In an email to CPJ, Immigration Department representative Leung Noel declined to comment on Buckley’s case, and said the department “acts in accordance with the laws in handling each application.”
[Editors’ note: This article has been updated to include the Immigration Department’s response to CPJ.]