The Financial Times on Tuesday said it will appeal against the Hong Kong government's refusal to renew its Asia news editor Victor Mallet's work visa.
The government has not offered any explanation for the rejection, but it's widely believed to be related to Mallet's hosting of a talk by independence advocate Chan Ho-tin in August at the Foreign Correspondents' Club, where he's a vice president.
Responding to questions about the move for the first time on Tuesday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said this link was "pure speculation" and refused to explain why the work visa renewal was declined.
In a statement, the FT said it would lodge an appeal "in the absence of an explanation from the Hong Kong authorities".
Amnesty International, meanwhile said the government's refusal to renew Victor Mallet's employment visa appears to be an act of "political payback" that will likely have chilling consequences for press freedom in the city.
Joyce Chiang, the director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, said the decision has alarming echoes of the retribution faced by foreign journalists who cover politically sensitive issues on the mainland.
Chiang said it was deeply shocking that the FCC is coming under attack in this way.