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China defends banning of Human Rights Watch

CHINA has defended its decision to bar the head of Human Rights Watch (HRW) from entering Hong Kong, claiming today that NGOs are responsible for political unrest in the city.

Kenneth Roth was supposed to give a news conference in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory this week to unveil the group’s latest global survey accusing Beijing of prosecuting “an intensive attack” on international human rights agencies.

However, the HRW executive director was turned back at the airport.

Last month, China announced sanctions against US NGOs, including HRW, in retaliation for US legislation authorising punitive measures against Beijing and backing Hong Kong’s protest movement.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said: “Plenty of facts and evidence show that the relevant NGO has through various means supported anti-China radicals, encouraged them to engage in extremist, violent and criminal activity and incited Hong Kong independence separatist activities.”

Hong Kong has seen several months of occasionally violent protests demanding more freedoms for the territory.

HRW deputy director for Asia Phil Robertson said the group believed that Mr Roth was stopped “because the Chinese government is afraid to have the world know what [it is] doing to the people of Hong Kong and China.”

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