Hong Kong refuses to renew British journalist's visa, raising fears for press freedom

A Chinese flag is seen as Pro-Beijing protesters and members of the media gather outside the HK Foreign Correspondents' Club (FCC) before Andy Chan's speech on August 14, 2018.

Hong Kong (CNN)Hong Kong has refused to renew the visa of a British journalist, an "unprecedented" move against foreign media in the city amid concerns that Beijing is seeking to exert more influence over semi-autonomous territory.

Authorities refused to renew the visa of Victor Mallet, the Financial Times' Asia news editor and vice president of the Foreign Correspondents' Club (FCC), which incurred Beijing's wrath by allowing a pro-independence activist to speak at one its events in August.
"The Hong Kong authorities have rejected an application to renew the work visa of Victor Mallet," the Financial Times confirmed in a statement. "This is the first time we have encountered this situation in Hong Kong, and we have not been given a reason for the rejection."
The Hong Kong government told CNN it doesn't comment on individual cases, and each application is considered in accordance with prevailing laws and policies.
    As the FCC's acting head, Mallet played a prominent role in the club's refusal to cave in to Beijing's demands to cancel the talk by Andy Chan, founder of the fringe Hong Kong National Party.
    Mallet has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years for Reuters and the Financial Times. He's spent 12 years in Asia, working in Thailand, Cambodia, India and Hong Kong.
    Andy Chan, founder of the Hong Kong National Party, surrounded by media as he leaves the Foreign Correspondents' Club (FCC) in Hong Kong on August 14, 2018.