China Bans Human Rights Watch Director Over Protest

China has said that Human Rights Watch Director, Kenneth Roth, was denied entry to Hong Kong over his organisation’s support of protesters in the city.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Geng Shuang, said on Monday that non-profits instigate protesters to “engage in extreme violent crimes’’ and “bear great responsibility for the current chaos in Hong Kong’’.

“These organisations deserve sanctions and must pay their dues,’’ Geng said.

Geng added that China has the right to allow or refuse individuals’ entry into the country.

Earlier, Roth said he was denied entry on Sunday to Hong Kong where he was scheduled to launch the organisation’s latest world report this week.

Roth said he was blocked at Hong Kong airport from entering for the first time, having entered freely in the past.

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During seven months of sometimes violent anti-government protests, the Chinese-ruled city has barred several activists, foreign journalists and an academic.

“This year, the new world report describes how the Chinese government is undermining the international human rights system.

“But the authorities just blocked my entrance to Hong Kong, illustrating the worsening problem,’’ Roth said in a post on his Twitter account.

He added that Hong Kong immigration officials had cited only “immigration reasons”.

Speaking at a daily news briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, said Human Rights Watch had encouraged radicals in Hong Kong “to take violent and extremist actions”.

“They have instigated the activities of Hong Kong separatists and hold a major responsibility for the current chaos,” Shuang said.

Human Rights Watch, based in New York, is scheduled to release its 652-page World Report 2020 at the Foreign Correspondent Club in Hong Kong on Jan. 15.

Roth will launch the report on Jan. 14 at the UN in New York, the organisation said in a statement.

“This disappointing action is yet another sign that Beijing is tightening its oppressive grip on Hong Kong and further restricting the limited freedom Hong Kong people enjoy under ‘one country, two systems’,’’ Roth said.

Human Rights Watch said a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs official had threatened to impose unspecified “sanctions” against it and several U.S.-based pro-democracy organisations in early December.

Neither Beijing nor Hong Kong authorities have since provided further details, it added.

Many people in Hong Kong are angered by what they see as Beijing’s ever-tightening grip on the city, which was promised a high degree of autonomy under a “one country, two systems” framework when the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

Beijing denies interference and blames the West for fomenting the unrest.

Credit: NAN

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