Almost 100 overseas Falun Gong [practitioners] had been denied entry to Hong Kong ahead of today's handover ceremony, with some forced on board flights, the group said yesterday.
Kan Hung-cheung, a Hong Kong spokesman for the group, said about 60 overseas
[practitioners] were barred from entering the SAR yesterday. The actions took the number of those refused entry since June 22 to 98. [ ]
Sixty-seven of the Falun Gong [practitioners] were from Taiwan, 13 from Australia and the rest from Japan and the United States. The overseas [practitioners] intended to join demonstrations today.
About 200 Falun Gong [practitioners] yesterday staged a sit-in and group exercise outside Immigration Tower in Wan Chai to protest against suppression of Falun Gong on the mainland. The group also held a candlelight vigil in Statue Square, Central, last night.
Mr Kan said about 50 [practitioners] from Taiwan were forcibly put on flights home early yesterday. They were stopped after landing at Chek Lap Kok on a flight from Taiwan late on Saturday. Another 10 were refused entry during the day.
Another group spokesman, Hui Cheung Yee-han, said some [practitioners] complained they were covered with blankets and forcibly carried by police on to flights. "Some [practitioners] were even not allowed to make phone calls to their consulates in Hong Kong," she said. Mrs Hui said the overseas [practitioners] were turned away because of President Jiang Zemin's visit to Hong Kong.
Leo Wang, an Australian [practitioner], said no reason was given when he was denied entry at Chek Lap Kok yesterday morning. He said a dozen people who were not [practitioners] were also repatriated yesterday because their names were the same as some [practitioners]. "It suggests that the SAR Government had a blacklist of Falun Gong [practitioners]," he said.
Fellow Australian [practitioner] Richard Sun said "safety reasons" were cited as the reason for denying him entry.
American Edmond Lee Renke, who passed through airport immigration counters, said he saw a fellow [practitioner], Yang Xiangdong from Japan, being tightly wrapped in a blanket and carried out of an airport office yesterday morning.
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