The Foreign Correspondents' Club (FCC) on Friday warned that journalists working in Hong Kong face fear and self-censorship if the government fails to explains its decision to deny entry to the Asia editor of the Financial Times newspaper.
Victor Mallet was denied entry into Hong Kong on Thursday when he arrived as a visitor. British citizens are usually given a visa-free stay of up to six months.
The FCC said it's "shocked and baffled" over the entry denial and it is demanding an immediate explanation for this "aggravated and disproportionate sanction that seems completely unfounded".
A statement from the FCC said the action by the Immigration Department has placed journalists working in the SAR in an opaque environment in which fear and self-censorship may replace the freedom and confidence essential to a free society, and guaranteed by the Basic Law.
Mallet was the acting president of the club when it hosted a lunch talk by Chan Ho-tin, founding member of the now banned Hong Kong National Party, which advocated independence for Hong Kong.
Soon after the talk, the government refused to renew Mallet's visa to work in the city, effectively forcing him to leave the city. Close to 20,000 people have signed an online petition urging authorities to explain Mallet’s work visa refusal.