A top US religious affairs body yesterday postponed a trip to the mainland and Hong Kong for the second time in five months after Beijing said it could not meet religious and non-governmental groups in the special administrative region. The ban has sparked concern in local political and religious circles, with critics saying the central government's interference in foreign groups' activities in the city will affect Hong Kong's image as an international city with freedom and the rule of law. A Hong Kong government spokesman refused to comment directly on the incident or whether the autonomy guaranteed under 'one country, two systems' had been undermined, but said immigration matters were handled according to the law and established process. In a statement yesterday, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom said it had cancelled its planned trip to the mainland and Hong Kong after Beijing imposed 'unacceptable conditions' and said its members could not hold official meetings during a proposed stopover in Hong Kong. Spokeswoman Anne Johnson would not say which groups the commission wanted to meet, but said there were more than one and they included 'religious and non-governmental groups'.