Zhang Dejiang

'Long Hair' keeps up the antics despite the attention of officials

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 September, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 September, 2005, 12:00am


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'Long Hair' Leung Kwok-hung fulfilled expectations he would cause a stir during the legislators' trip to Guangdong - at one point yesterday it was rumoured mainland officials had locked him up.

Mr Leung started it off in the morning when he showed up at the entrance to the Legco Building with a bowl of apples, a gift for provincial party chief Zhang Dejiang , he said.

Reporters from the Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily were barred from covering the lawmakers' visit.

At the border, sporting a T-shirt that read 'People won't forget', Mr Leung was able to smuggle the fresh fruit across.

He was also carrying a banner in his luggage demanding Beijing reverse the June 4 verdict, which customs officials did not seize. 'The Chinese Communist Party certainly has a big heart,' he quipped.

Throughout the day, mainland and Hong Kong officials kept a close eye on him. Whenever he tried to talk to reporters, he was reminded repeatedly of his itinerary and told to go to the next stop.

At Guangzhou's White Swan hotel where the legislators are staying, Mr Leung was seen wearing a different T-shirt, one that read, 'Reverse the June 4 verdict'.

At one point in the late afternoon, Mr Leung entered a hotel lift surrounded by officials and began to shout, 'Reverse the verdict on June 4' and 'return power to the people'.

The doors closed and reporters assumed those would prove to be Mr Leung's final words of the trip. Rumours began to circulate that he had been locked up in his room.

But to the surprise of reporters waiting in the hotel, Mr Leung left a meeting with colleagues at 8pm, sporting a big smile.

'Don't panic,' he said. 'I arrived at the door [of the meeting] and officials from both Hong Kong and the mainland told me I couldn't enter with my T-shirt.

'I had no choice but to wear something on top. But then they told me I could not give a letter to Zhang Dejiang.

'I told them I wouldn't go in if they were so impolite,' he said, adding that he was unable to give the letter to Mr Zhang.

And no one seemed to remind Mr Leung about table manners when Shenzhen Mayor Xu Zongheng was giving a speech at the welcome lunch - instead of listening to Mr Xu attentively, he continued eating his meal.

Although no one vanished yesterday, one thing was missing - the apples Mr Leung was to give to Mr Zhang were not seen after the border crossing.