Hong Kong denies entry to Human Rights Watch director

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong authorities barred the head of Human Rights Watch from entering the Chinese territory on Sunday, the advocacy group said.

Human Rights Watch’s Executive Director Kenneth Roth had planned to launch the organisation’s annual world report in Hong Kong this week.

The move to bar Roth follows China’s pledge last month to sanction organisations that it said “performed badly” in relation to anti-government protests that have roiled Hong Kong for more than seven months. Human Rights Watch, the National Endowment for Democracy and Freedom House were among the groups cited for sanctions.

Roth, a United States (US) citizen, told The Associated Press by email that immigration authorities at the airport told him he could not enter Hong Kong.

When he asked why, they told him repeatedly it was for “immigration reasons”, without elaborating.

He was held up at immigration for around four hours, Roth said, and subjected to “an extremely thorough security check”.

Human Rights Watch’s executive director Kenneth Roth. PHOTO: AP