China is defending its decision to refuse to renew the work visa of a Financial Times editor in Hong Kong. The case has drawn concern over the shrinking space for free speech in the Chinese territory.
A statement from the foreign ministry’s office in Hong Kong late Saturday said the central government “firmly supports” the local government’s rejection of Victor Mallet’s visa renewal application.
Mallet is vice president of Hong Kong’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club, which drew criticism from the authorities for hosting a talk by the leader of a now-banned pro-Hong Kong independence party.
Hong Kong was promised semi-autonomy for 50 years as part of its 1997 handover from British rule.
Rights groups have called the visa rejection the latest sign of Beijing’s expanding restrictions on the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.