Visa Denial for Sue-Lin Wong Underscores Rising Press Freedom Concerns
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong, is deeply concerned that another journalist, Sue-Lin Wong of The Economist, has been denied an employment visa in Hong Kong.
This follows the denial of visas for Victor Mallet of the Financial Times in 2018, Chris Buckley of the New York Times, and Aaron Mc Nicholas of the Hong Kong Free Press last year.
The decision by the Immigration Department not to extend Sue-Lin Wong’s visa, made without explanation, further highlights the concerns raised in the FCC’s survey of correspondent and journalist members on the state of press freedom in Hong Kong published on 5 November.
The survey clearly illustrated the deteriorating working environment for journalists in Hong Kong, with visa applications emerging as a major problem. In all, 24% of respondents said they had experienced slight delays or obstacles in obtaining visas, while 29% said they had experienced considerable obstacles or delays.
The FCC has previously urged the Immigration Department, in two letters published in 2020, to provide more clarity on its procedures for issuing journalists’ employment visas. So far, we have not received a satisfactory response.
We again call on the government to provide concrete assurances that applications for employment visas and visa extensions will be handled in a timely manner with clearly-stated requirements and procedures, and that the visa process for journalists will not be politicised or weaponised.