Two Taiwanese activists who plan to join tomorrow's rally in Hong Kong were refused entry yesterday, raising accusations of political motives.
Lin Chi-hua, an academic at Soochow University in Taipei who is close to the pan-democrats in Hong Kong, and Chen Wei-ting, a leading figure in the Sunflower movement that mobilised thousands to occupy Taiwan's legislative to stop a trade services deal with the mainland, had flown in separately.
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But both were deported back to Taiwan soon after their planes landed at Chek Lap Kok airport. Speaking from Taiwan on his return, Lin said: "The immigration officers said that my permit was not valid.
"They questioned me for two hours about the purpose of my visit … and then they forced me onto a plane back to Taiwan."
He said he used a Mainland Travel Permit for Taiwan Residents, known as "Tai Bao Zheng". This permit supposedly allows Taiwanese a visa-free stay in the city for up to seven days.
He suspected that the Immigration Department, under pressure from Beijing, had a blacklist.
Meanwhile, National Taiwan University sociology professor Chen Hui-min flew into Hong Kong with Chen Wei-ting. He successfully entered the city, but the student activist was deported soon after the plane touched down at 3.20pm.
"Political repression by the Hong Kong government and Beijing has reached unprecedented levels. They are now even curbing freedom of travel," the professor said.
The Immigration Department would not comment on individual cases. A spokesman said the department took into account immigration requirements and the circumstances of each individual in handling cases.
Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council hoped the Hong Kong government could safeguard freedom and human rights.