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Financial Times editor denied entry into Hong Kong

Hong Kong: The Asia editor of the Financial Times has been refused entry to Hong Kong, weeks after he was denied a new work visa in what critics call an ominous sign of Beijing encroaching on the semi-autonomous Chinese territory's civil liberties.

In Pic: Victor Mallet

The newspaper reported that Victor Mallet was turned away at the border on Thursday after being questioned for several hours.

He had sought to enter as a visitor.

Mallet's visa rejection in October came shortly after he hosted a talk at the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents Club by the head of a now-banned political party advocating the financial hub's independence from China.

That brought heated criticism from the territory's pro-China elites, some of whom called for the journalists' organization to be kicked out of its clubhouse in the central financial district.

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Hong Kong's immigration authority have given no explanation for his expulsion.

On Friday, Secretary for Security John Lee said the case had "nothing to do with freedom of expression or freedom of the press."

Pro-democracy legislators on the city council also expressed worries over the incident, saying the erosion of basic legal rights could harm Hong Kong's ability to attract foreign investment.

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The denial of a visa to Mallet has been widely condemned by journalists, human rights and civic society groups in Hong Kong, who saw it as a sign of China's growing encroachment on freedom of speech in the city.



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