Past record was not the cause of entry ban, says Danish activist

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 April, 2008, 12:00am

Danish human rights activist Jens Galschiot yesterday said that his past record was not the reason for him being denied entry into Hong Kong last week.

But sources said he was barred from entering because of his activism in the past, including his association with the Colour Orange movement to press for human rights during the Beijing Olympics, and his involvement in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) protests in Hong Kong in 2005.

The incident led to a meeting between Danish consul general Jorgen Mollegaard and Secretary for Security Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong yesterday. French consul general Jean-Pierre Thebault also took part.

Mr Mollegaard said they had a 'frank discussion' with Mr Lee during the 45-minute meeting.

Several Chinese-language newspapers yesterday reported the government had refused Galschiot entry to Hong Kong because of an incident in December 2005, in which it was alleged he had not arranged adequate insurance for a sculpture he installed in Victoria Park during the 2005 WTO meeting.

But on his website, Galschiot said the allegation was 'a sheer lie' and said he had taken out insurance for the sculpture.

Reporters Without Borders, an international pressure group, said it had decided not to come to Hong Kong to protest because it believed the group would be denied entry.

Vincent Brossel, spokesman for the group's Asia-Pacific desk, said it had learned about a blacklist from many sources.

Mr Brossel said some members of the group from locations other than Paris would come to Hong Kong to attend some events organised by the Hong Kong Journalists Association.

Meanwhile, other groups in Hong Kong have stepped up preparation for protests in the run-up to Friday's Olympic torch relay.

The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China said it was unhappy with police arrangements.

Alliance chairman Szeto Wah said they could not accept that they could only protest near the Star Ferry in Tsim Sha Tsui, which would be far away from the relay site.

Last night, a group of activists led by University of Hong Kong student Christina Chan Hau-man staged a protest in Kowloon Park, raising concerns over human rights in Tibet.