As the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China approaches, Beijing has tightened its control over Hong Kong, resulting in the detention and repatriation of Taiwanese Falun Gong practitioners, the practitioners said yesterday.
Over a dozen Falun Gong practitioners from Taiwan who sought to enter Hong Kong with valid visas and passports on Sunday and Monday were detained overnight by immigration officers at Hong Kong International Airport and sent home without explanation, said Theresa Chu (
Chu made the remarks at a news conference in Taipei yesterday morning, during which other Falun Gong practitioners who have been denied entry to Hong Kong over the past few days told their story and condemned the Chinese government.
Chu said she arrived in Hong Kong late on Sunday night with a valid passport and visa, but "as soon as the immigration officer learned my name, he took me to the immigration office."
Chu was informed by immigration officials on duty at the time that she could appeal, but "police officers came to me on Monday morning and told me I no longer had the right to appeal," Chu said.
"Six female police officers wrapped me with a bomb blanket and forced me into a wheelchair. They then took me to the boarding gate," she said.
After returning to Taiwan, Chu said she learned from a Taichung travel agency that Hong Kong Immigration officials had informed all airlines that Falun Gong practitioners were unwelcome there.
"All Falun Gong practitioners will be on the `unwelcome list' as Hong Kong prepares for celebrations for the 10th anniversary of its return [to China] on July 1st," a copy of a fax that Chu obtained from the travel agency read.
Not all of the people who were detained and sent back to Taiwan were Falun Gong practitioners.
Meanwhile, Chu was detained again as she attempted to enter Hong Kong yesterday.
"I was taken to the immigration office right after I arrived in Hong Kong this afternoon and I'm sitting here all by myself," Chu said as she spoke to the Taipei Times from Hong Kong.
At a separate event, Government Information Office Minister Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) accused Hong Kong immigration authorities of being "absolutely wrong" for denying entry to the Taiwanese Falun Gong members.
He said the decision showed that Hong Kong's human rights and democracy had regressed to a level much lower than that enjoyed by its residents 10 years ago.
Additional reporting by CNA
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