Thu, Jun 26, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Sunflowers say leaders denied HK visas

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Three members of the Taiwan March, who were also the main leaders of the student-led Sunflower movement, have been denied visas to Hong Kong, which they say is probably due to political pressure from Beijing.

The group made a statement on Tuesday night saying that one of its members, Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷), had applied for a Hong Kong visa and planned to participate in an activity organized by the New School for Democracy, which promotes exchanges between social activists in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

The group said Chen also planned to join the annual July 1 protest rally in Hong Kong and visiting activist groups that had come to Taiwan to support the Sunflower movement.

On Monday, Chen received word that his visa application had been refused, Taiwan March said.

Fellow Taiwan March leaders Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) and Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) then also applied for visas, but were also denied, the group added.

The group said they checked the visa regulations to confirm that the trio had not breached any rules that could have led to a denial of visas.

“We are justifiably suspicious that this is deliberate political repression by the Hong Kong government and the Chinese Communist Party,” it said. “We condemn the Hong Kong and Chinese authorities’ joint oppression against civil society in Taiwan and Hong Kong, as well as exchanges between the two. And our support for universal suffrage in Hong Kong and true democracy there will not falter under pressure from Beijing.”

Chen would leave for Hong Kong as scheduled on Sunday in defiance of the visa rejection, the group said.

“Compared with [China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Director] Zhang Zhijun’s [張志軍] arrival in Taiwan today and what he said [during the Sunflower movement] about being willing to talk to the protesters, [the visa denial] is just ironic,” Chen said. “Why can he enter Taiwan freely, while we are deterred from our trip to Hong Kong?”

Lin said he could not think of reasons beside political ones to explain the denial of entry.

“At the moment [with Zhang’s arrival] we are witnessing a clandestine exchange, as usual, between the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] and the Chinese Communist Party,” he wrote on Facebook. “When China and KMT politicians and businesspeople unabashedly collude, but at the same time try to discourage social communication between Taiwan and Hong Kong, China’s fear for democracy and the consolidation of the two nations’ relationship has been exposed.”

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