UK demands explanations from Hong Kong over rejection of visa renewal for journalist

The UK has asked the Hong Kong government for "an urgent explanation" over its refusal to renew the work visa of a Financial Times journalist.

"We have asked the Hong Kong government for an urgent explanation," the British Foreign Ministry said.

According to British authorities, "Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and its press freedoms are central to its way of life, and must be fully respected."

The US consulate in Hong Kong echoed Britain's concern, saying the denial was "especially disturbing."

On Friday, the Financial Times revealed that Hong Kong authorities had rejected an application to renew Victor Mallet's work visa. In August, Mallet chaired a talk with Andy Chan, the leader of the Hong Kong National Party - a pro-independence party that was banned by the government on September 24.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry called for the cancellation of the talk, which was to be hosted by the Foreign Correspondents Club in Hong Kong (FCC). The request was denied.

FCC Vice President Victor Mallet, 58, has been working as a journalist in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East for more than three decades.