Fri, Jan 18, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Macau turns away former HK activist citing security risk


A former leader of Hong Kong’s student-led “Umbrella movement” protests was refused entry to Macau as a “public security” threat in what critics said was a new escalation in Beijing’s drive to curb the movement of dissidents.

Yvonne Leung (梁麗幗), 25, was a prominent leader of the 2014 pro-democracy movement and the only female student leader to meet with senior government officials at the height of the rallies.

However, in the past few years she has retreated from the political front lines.

She was refused entry to Macau on Wednesday, a decision that took some by surprise because of Leung’s less-prominent public profile.

Leung told reporters that the reason provided to her by authorities in Macau was “strong references that you intend to enter to participate in certain activities, which may jeopardize the public security or public order.”

She declined to provide further comment, including the purpose of her visit.

Like Hong Kong, Macau is a semi-autonomous territory of China. Both have freedoms unseen in China thanks to a temporary handover agreement struck by Beijing with the territories’ colonial owners.

However, activists and observers in both territories have said that Beijing’s increased determination to assert control has led to an erosion of those freedoms — and a widening array of movement restrictions on critics.

Macau’s refusal to allow Leung entry represented a “step up” in those tactics and sent “a chilling message that you have to pay your price for being disobedient, being a government critic,” Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmaker Claudia Mo (毛孟靜) said.

“They try to have this cloud hanging over you,” she told reporters.

Authorities in Macau did not reply to requests for comment.

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