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Hong Kong localism and independence

Localist activist Edward Leung Tin-kei in talks with Dalai Lama

Hong Kong Indigenous spokesman was among 60 people at meeting in Dharamsala, India

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 May, 2016, 12:15am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 May, 2016, 12:15am

Radical localist activist Edward Leung Tin-kei met with Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India, along with 60 other individuals from the mainland, Macau, Taiwan, Europe and the United States.

The two-hour meeting took place on Thursday according to Radio Free Asia, with the Hong Kong Indigenous spokesman describing the encounter as a “rare opportunity”.

“I’ve never thought [I could meet] Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader. This doesn’t happen everyday,” Leung said.

Localist leader Edward Leung between a rock and hard place

The Hong Kong Indigenous spokesman said since there were politicians from India and the European Union in attendance as well, he could learn firsthand how they perceived the mainland.

Chow Hang-tung, an Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China volunteer,was another Hongkonger who attended the meeting.

“It was very inspiring,” Chow said.

Others present included Canadian beauty queen and activist Anastasia Lin and Katrina Lantos Swett, the daughter of late American politician Tom Lantos.

Radio Free Asia claims the meeting in Dharamsala was “under pressure” from multiple parties, particularly from the mainland.

The media outlet also said in its report that security measures were tight at the meeting, as no media was allowed inside the venue, while participants had to leave their mobile phones and cameras with security guards.

Leung had earlier travelled to India to attend the 11th Interethnic Interfaith Leadership Conference held at Dalai Lama’s residence.

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The conference was organised by US-based group Initiatives for China. According to its Facebook, the group aims to advance “a peaceful transition to democracy in China through truth, understanding, citizen power, & cooperative action”.

Co-founder of Leung’s group Ray Wong Toi-yeung and former secretary general of Hong Kong Federation of Students Alex Chow Yong-kang were scheduled to attend the event as well but were unable to do so as their applications for travel visa were rejected.

Wong, who was earlier granted permission by the court to leave Hong Kong for the conference, said he doesn’t know why his application was turned down, explaining he had applied the same way as Leung.

The localist activist added he was scheduled to speak at the conference on Saturday.

“But since I can’t travel, [Leung] would have to deliver the speech on my behalf,” he said.

The Indian consulate in Hong Kong declined to comment on the reasons for rejecting Wong and Chow’s visa applications.