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Hong Kong Denies Entry To Human Rights Watch Head Ahead Of Critical China Report

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Human Rights Watch (HRW) says the Hong Kong government denied entry to its head, who was scheduled to launch in the autonomous region a report focusing on China's "assault" on human rights later this week.

"I had hoped to spotlight Beijing's deepening assault on international efforts to uphold human rights," Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said on Sunday. "The refusal to let me enter Hong Kong vividly illustrates the problem," said Roth, who had planned to launch the organization's World Report 2020 in Hong Kong at a news conference on Wednesday.

Roth, a US citizen, said that when he landed at Hong Kong International Airport on Sunday, immigration authorities told him that he could not enter the city, without citing any reason.

The report's lead article will highlight the Chinese government's intensifying assault on the international human rights system, HRW said in a statement.

In the 652-page World Report, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in nearly 100 countries. Roth's preface, which each year highlights a major human rights theme, warns that the Chinese government is carrying out an intensive attack on the global system for enforcing human rights.

He will now launch the report at a news conference on at the United Nations in New York on Tuesday. It will be the New York-based human rights watchdog's 30th edition of World Report.

Roth had visited Hong Kong several times in the past, including to release a Human Rights Watch report on gender discrimination in the Chinese job market in April 2018.

Last month, a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs official had threatened to impose unspecified "sanctions" against Human Rights Watch and several US-based pro-democracy organizations. Neither Beijing nor Hong Kong authorities have since provided further details.

Roth is not the first person critical of the mainland and Hong Kong governments to whom Hong Kong immigration authorities have denied access.

"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,'" according to Roth.

The head of the US-based group urged the concerned governments to take a firm stand against China's "creeping repression that massive numbers of people have protested against for months."

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