October 9, 2018 / 4:18 PM / 6 months ago

UK says Hong Kong rejection of FT journalist visa politically motivated

LONDON (Reuters) - British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Tuesday he was very concerned by the Hong Kong authorities’ unprecedented rejection of a visa for journalist Victor Mallet, Asia news editor for the Financial Times.

“In the absence of an explanation from the authorities we can only conclude that this move is politically motivated,” he added in a statement.

Chinese-ruled Hong Kong last week rejected an application to renew the work visa of Mallet, who also serves as the vice-president of the city’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC).

It came two months after government officials in China and Hong Kong condemned the FCC for hosting a speech by an independence activist, Andy Chan, reigniting debate about the viability of the city’s promised freedoms. Mallet chaired the event.

“This undermines Hong Kong’s freedom of speech and freedom of the press, both guaranteed by the Joint Declaration, and the Basic Law, and increases the pressure on the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ framework,” Hunt added.

“I urge the Hong Kong authorities to reconsider this decision. Confidence in Hong Kong’s rights and freedoms is an essential component of its future success,” he said.

Reporting by Stephen Addison, editing by James Davey

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