x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Second dissident denied entry to HK

A dissident who took part in the 1989 pro-democracy protests at Beijing's Tiananmen Square is turned away on its 20th anniversary.

Chinese security forces cover Tiananmen Square ahead of the 20th anniversary of the June 4 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, a day after Twitter and Hotmail Internet services in China were blocked.
Chinese security forces cover Tiananmen Square ahead of the 20th anniversary of the June 4 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, a day after Twitter and Hotmail Internet services in China were blocked.

A second dissident who took part in the 1989 pro-democracy protests at Beijing's Tiananmen Square was denied entry to Hong Kong ahead of the 20th anniversary of China's brutal crackdown, an activist said today. The Chinese government has been rounding up dissidents before the sensitive anniversary - a taboo topic on the mainland. By contrast, the event is openly commemorated in Hong Kong, a Chinese-ruled former British colony that enjoys freedom of speech.

However, the local government has turned away some Tiananmen dissidents. The latest, American citizen Xiang Xiaoji, was deported back to the US after arriving from New York City by plane late Tuesday, activist Richard Tsoi told the Associated Press. Asked about Mr Xiaoji's case at a meeting of Hong Kong's legislature today, secretary for security Ambrose Lee said he wouldn't comment on invidiual cases but denied that the government kept an immigration blacklist, Hong Kong's radio RTHK reported on its website.

Immigration officials did not explain why they denied entry, Mr Xiaoji's lawyer, pro-democracy legislator James To said. Hong Kong's Immigration Department did not immediately return a reporter's call. US Consulate General spokesman Dale Kreisher said he had no immediate comment on Mr Xiaoji's case. Mr Xiaoji planned to attend Hong Kong's annual candlelight vigil to honour victims of the Tiananmen crackdown on Thursday, June 4 - the 20th anniversary of the military action - and an academic conference about changes in China since Tiananmen today, Mr To said.

In a statement issued through To, Mr Xiaoji called his deportation "a wrong decision". "Hong Kong people encourage Chinese people to keep pursuing democracy by remembering June 4 every year." Mr Xiaoji is the second Tiananmen dissident to be denied entry in recent weeks. US permanent resident Yang Jianli was turned away at the airport several weeks ago, according to an academic who invited him to the conference about changes since Tiananmen.

A Danish artist who created a sculpture depicting its victims was also denied entry to the territory on Saturday. Jens Galschiot said immigration officials did not explain why he was deported. The Hong Kong government said it acted legally but did not give details. * AP