Critics on Monday slammed the Hong Kong government over the banning of Human Rights Watch official Kenneth Roth, saying the administration is using entry denials to punish anyone it does not agree with.
The convenor of the pan-democratic camp, Tanya Chan, called the ban on Roth an "unnecessary and stupid act of the HKSAR government".
Roth was supposed to unveil his group's yearly report, which is expected to be critical of Beijing, at the Foreign Correspondents' Club (FCC) on Wednesday. He was barred from entering the city on Sunday night.
The FCC released a statement on Monday, expressing its grave concern over the decision.
"The FCC is concerned that the Hong Kong government is using the Immigration Department to act punitively against organisations and media representatives it does not agree with," the club said.
It noted that Roth's case added to a number of entry denials it has been closely following, including that of Matthew Connors, a US photography professor who had been documenting the anti-government protests.
It also said the Immigration Department's lack of explanation was similar to its response after former Financial Times Asia news editor Victor Mallet was banned from entering Hong Kong in 2018.
When asked for a response, the Chief Executive's Office simply forwarded the RTHK query to the Immigration Department.
Former security secretary Regina Ip declined to comment on Roth's case.
Critics slam decision to ban Human Rights Watch head
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