Beijing on Monday defended barring the head of Human Rights Watch from entering Hong Kong, saying non-governmental organisations were responsible for political unrest in the semi-autonomous city and should "pay the proper price".
Kenneth Roth was supposed to give a press conference in Hong Kong this week to unveil the New York-based rights group's latest global survey, which accuses China of prosecuting "an intensive attack" on international human rights agencies.
The long-time executive director said on Sunday that he was turned back by authorities at Chek Lap Kok.
China last month announced sanctions on American NGOs, including HRW, in retaliation for the passage of a US bill backing Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement.
"Allowing or not allowing someone's entry is China's sovereign right," foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press briefing.
"Plenty of facts and evidence show that the relevant NGO has through various means supported anti-China radicals, encouraged them to engage in extremist, violent and criminal activity, and incited Hong Kong independence separatist activities," Geng said.
"They bear major responsibility for the current chaos in Hong Kong. These organisations should be punished, and should pay the proper price."
Roth joins a growing list of openly critical academics, researchers, politicians and activists who have been refused entry to Hong Kong in recent years.
Financial Times journalist Victor Mallet was denied a visa renewal without reason in 2018 after he hosted a talk with the leader of a small and now banned independence party at the city's press club.
Last September, an American academic was barred from entering after he testified in a Congressional hearing alongside prominent Hong Kong democracy activists. (AFP)
Human Rights Watch responsible for HK chaos: Beijing
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