Hong Kong arts centre 'cancels appearance by Chinese dissident author'

09 Novembre, 2018, 13:51 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Ma Jian Chinese-born author and critic of the Chinese government attends the 30th Edinburgh International Book Festival in Edinburgh Scotland on on Aug. 12 2013

Hong Kong has barred the Financial Times Asia news editor from entering the territory, after refusing to renew his work visa last month.

Mallet attempted to enter Hong Kong as a visitor but was turned away at the border after several hours of questioning by immigration officers, the FT reported.

The group said it was "deeply concerned with this action, taken with no stated or apparent legal basis" in the first incident of its kind against a journalist since Hong Kong returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.

"In considering any application for entry, we will be acting in accordance with the law and the prevailing immigration policy to make a decision", it said in an emailed statement on Friday.

In a letter to Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam, 17 of the press club's former presidents renewed calls on Thursday for an official explanation as to why Mallet was denied the work visa.

Hong Kong's immigration department has stated it does not comment on individual cases.

Mallet was denied a work visa renewal in October without explanation, although it is widely believed to have been punishment for chairing a talk with a pro-independence activist at the Foreign Correspondents' Club (FCC) in August.

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Authorities did not give a reason for the visa decision, which shocked many in the city's global community and revived a debate over promised freedoms in the financial hub.

An arts centre in Hong Kong hosting the city's annual global literary festival has cancelled appearances by Ma Jian, the exiled Chinese writer said on Thursday, in the latest example of China tightening its control on freedom of expression.

"Refusing a visa in this case, to a bona fide journalist working for one of the world's leading newspapers, sets a bad precedent for Hong Kong's reputation as a place where the rule of law applies and where freedom of speech is protected by law", it said in a statement on its website.

The principle promises Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy and freedoms not enjoyed elsewhere in China, rights which are enshrined in a mini-constitution known as the Basic Law.

On Thursday, exiled Chinese author Ma Jian tweeted that the Tai Kwun arts centre, which was set up with government support, had cancelled two events where he was to speak.

Ma said it was Tai Kwun, not the festival, that had pulled his events. "Without them, life has no meaning", Ma wrote on Twitter.

Ma is due to arrive in Hong Kong on Friday afternoon.

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