Published: Mon, January 13, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

Hong Kong bars Human Rights Watch director from entering region

Hong Kong bars Human Rights Watch director from entering region

"My denial of entry pales in comparison to the harassment that Chinese activists routinely endure", Roth said in a Human Rights Watch statement.

Hong Kong authorities barred the head of Human Rights Watch from entering the Chinese territory Sunday, the advocacy group said.

Human Rights Watch, based in NY, had been scheduled to release its 652-page World Report 2020 at the Foreign Correspondent Club in Hong Kong on January 15.

"I had hoped to spotlight Beijing's deepening assault on worldwide efforts to uphold human rights", Roth said in a statement published later on.

Roth has visited Hong Kong numerous times and he said this is the first time he has been denied entry.

Kenneth Roth was supposed to give a press conference in Hong Kong to unveil the New York-based rights group's latest global survey.

While Roth has been able to travel to Hong Kong in the past, this time, "the Chinese government decided it didn't want to let me in", he said.

Responding to Reuters' questions, a spokesman for the Hong Kong Immigration Department said it did not comment on individual cases.

Former White House Officials Call For Return Of Regular Press Briefings
And the letter argues that press briefings are especially important in an era of rampant and organized disinformation on social media. "In times of military conflict and worldwide crisis, these briefings take on even more importance", the letter stressed. "This is now well documented".

On December 2, 2019, a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs official threatened to impose unspecified "sanctions" against Human Rights Watch and several US-based pro-democracy organizations.

A former British colony, Hong Kong was handed over to Chinese rule in 1997 with a guarantee that it could retain its own political, legal, economic and social freedoms under the rubric of "one country, two systems". But immigration authorities blocked him from entering the territory, "illustrating the worsening problem" of the Chinese regime's overreach, he said.

These include free expression, freedom of the press and other basic rights that make Hong Kong significantly different from mainland China. Neither Beijing nor Hong Kong authorities have since provided further details - but at the time said these organizations were being punished for their "odious behavior" in Hong Kong.

China seeks to "not simply suppress the rights of people at home, but also undermine the ability of anybody else to try to hold China to human rights standards", Roth said in the video.

Earlier this month, a U.S. photography professor who has covered the unrest in Hong Kong was denied entry into the territory.

The demonstrations originally focused on a now withdrawn bill that would have allowed the extradition of suspects to mainland China, but later evolved into a broader movement demanding democratic reform and investigations into police brutality. In September previous year, USA academic Dan Garrett, who wrote a book about Hong Kong's history of resistance against the Chinese regime since 1997, also was denied entry.

Roth would now launch the report on Jan 14 at the United Nations in NY, the organisation said in a statement.

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