Hong Kong Denies Visa for Vice President of Foreign Correspondent’s Club

Victor Mallet, a Financial Times journalist and first vice president of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC), speaks during a luncheon at the FCC in Hong Kong, China, August 14, 2018. Paul Yeung/Pool via REUTERS

Hong Kong’s immigration authorities have refused a visa to the vice president of a city press club two months after the organization hosted a controversial politician in an event that raised Beijing’s ire. No reason was given for the visa rejection.

Financial Times Asia News Editor Victor Mallet, who is also the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondent’s Club vice president, was denied a renewal of his visa, local outlet Hong Kong Free Press reported Friday.

The Financial Times confirmed Mallet’s visa rejection in an email to TIME.

“This is the first time we have encountered this situation in Hong Kong. We have not been given a reason for the rejection,” a spokesperson for FT wrote.

In August, Mallet moderated a round-table discussion with Andy Chan, the leader of the fringe Hong Kong National Party (HKNP), which advocates for the semi-autonomous city’s separation from Beijing.

In the lead-up to the event, China’s Foreign Ministry heavily pressured the press club to rescind its invitation to Chan. Hong Kong’s authorities have since disbanded the HKNP and labeled it a threat to national security.

The FCC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Mallet.

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SOURCE: TIME, Eli Meixler