Thu, Mar 05, 2009 - Page 5 News List

HK professor, politicians barred from Macau visit


A Hong Kong professor and two pro-democracy politicians were barred from Macau, escalating concerns over a possible curb on freedom of expression, a broadcaster said yesterday.

Johannes Chan (陳文敏), dean of the University of Hong Kong’s law faculty, told Cable TV he was turned away by immigration officers when he went to give a speech at the University of Macau on Friday.

“The officers took my identity card for a check. The computer showed that I might not be able to enter the city,” said Chan, a former chairman of the Hong Kong Bar Association.

“They told me that I cannot enter Macau according to the internal security law of Macau and that they will send me back,” the human rights advocate said.

The only explanation given by the Macau officials was that his name was on a list and that they were just doing their job, Chan told the broadcaster.

He said he believed it was because of his role in the Article 23 Concern Group, set up in 2002 to campaign against the Hong Kong government’s plan to enact controversial security legislation.

The bill was to come under the Basic Law, the territory’s mini-constitution following its return to Chinese rule in 1997. Public pressure forced the government to shelve it in 2003.

Chan said he was not familiar with Macau’s new security legislation, which mirrored Hong Kong’s shelved security bill and took effect on Tuesday. Macau also has a mini-constitution after returning to China in 1999.

The professor said he had often traveled to Macau for academic exchanges and that Friday was the first time he had been turned away. He expressed concerns about the authorities’ curbs on academic freedom.

A spokesman for Macau’s government said three Hong Kong residents were denied entry between Friday and Tuesday, but gave no further details.

The two other residents were pro-democracy politicians Frederick Fung (馮檢基) and Bruce Liu (劉江華), the South China Morning Post said.

In December, nine Hong Kong pro-democracy politicians who planned to protest against the security bill in Macau were denied entry.

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