Veteran protester welcomed home after lodging complaints in Beijing

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 31 December, 2007, 12:00am

Veteran protester Lo Chau returned home yesterday after a four-day visit to Beijing to call for universal suffrage for Hong Kong in 2012.

Mr Lo was detained at Beijing airport for three hours after he flew from Shenzhen to the capital last Thursday. He was later released and presented two letters to the National People's Congress Standing Committee complaints office demanding full democracy in 2012.

Yesterday, he said the trip had been a new experience for him, as he never thought that he could reach Beijing airport.

Mr Lo was welcomed by members of the League of Social Democrats at Hung Hom station.

'This visit means that the new leadership on the mainland is more open to petitioners from Hong Kong,' he said. '[The central government] should allow more Hong Kong people to voice their opinion.'

Mr Lo is one of four democrats who went on the protest mission to the mainland last week, but was the only one to cross the border to Shenzhen with a home-return permit.

Legislator 'Long Hair' Leung Kwok-hung, and district councillors Andrew To Kwun-hang and Tsang Kin-shing had their permits confiscated during previous attempts to enter the mainland.

Asked whether his mission had been a failure as the standing committee had ruled out universal suffrage in 2012, Mr Lo said not every move for 'social reform' would be a success.

'Dr Sun Yat-sen spent 40 years on the revolution,' he said. 'He also had some failures throughout the years.'

League of Social Democrats chairman Wong Yuk-man said he was relieved to see Mr Lo arrive in Hong Kong safely as he had been detained in Beijing.

'We know that he has suffered in the past few days in Beijing,' Mr Wong said. 'I think that [Mr Lo] has successfully expressed opinion to the leaders.'