Radical Hong Kong lawmaker seeks papers for China trip

‘Long Hair’ Leung Kwok-hung wants to join delegation and hints he will not stage anti-Communist Party protests

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 April, 2017, 11:47pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 April, 2017, 11:47pm

Radical lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung will apply for a permanent travel document to enter the mainland as part of a delegation of Hong Kong legislators due to visit Guangdong province next week.

The veteran activist has also hinted he will not stage his trademark anti-Communist Party protests during the two-day visit.

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The trip, starting on April 14, will see a group of 21 lawmakers, including eight pan-democrats, travel to various locations in neighbouring Shenzhen and southern Guangdong to inspect the Dongjiang, or East River, the source of Hong Kong’s water, and other facilities that supply the city.

Leung is the only delegation member who does not have a home-return permit, the document that all permanent Hong Kong ID card holders are required to produce when entering the mainland.

The other pan-democrats signed up for the trip are Tanya Chan, Dr Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung, Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, Kenneth Leung, Charles Mok, Shiu Ka-chun and Helena Wong Pik-wan. Newly elected Chu said he might not be able to make it because of other engagements.

This would be the first time for a delegation of lawmakers from both pro-establishment and pan-democrat camps to visit the mainland since Beijing in November offered to renew home-return permits and grant permanent documents to all opposition members in a conciliatory move.

I only demonstrate when I have the chance to meet the [central government] officials
Leung Kwok-hung, lawmaker

Many pan-democrats have been unable to renew their permits due to their pro-democracy stance and ties to the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, an organisation set up in 1989 to support students in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square protests.

In November, Leung said he was not interested in applying for his permit, but weeks later he changed his mind about joining the delegation to Shenzhen, saying “it’s my responsibility” to go.

Asked if he would stage anti-China protests during this visit, Leung replied: “The trip is short, and it is about inspecting the East River. It seems there will not be central government officials attending. So, there is no point for me to voice my demands.

“I only demonstrate when I have the chance to meet the [central government] officials.”

He said he would apply for the permit as early as Wednesday.

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Shiu, a core supporter of the 2014 Occupy protests, said it would be his first trip back to the mainland since the civil disobedience campaign.

The localist lawmaker also said he had no plans to wear clothes bearing slogans or carry any protest props across the border.

Additional reporting by Jeffie Lam