Human rights in China

Hong Kong officials let dissident Wang Xizhe visit city – as long as he promised not to meet any ‘politically sensitive’ people

  • Wang fled mainland China to the United States in 1996 and has not returned since
  • But the dissident wrote to Chief Executive Carrie Lam in May asking if he could visit
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 October, 2018, 8:52pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 October, 2018, 11:08pm

A veteran Chinese dissident who has been exiled from mainland China for more than 20 years visited Hong Kong last week, the Post has learned.

But Wang Xizhe, 70, who fled to the United States in 1996, was detained at Hong Kong International Airport for three hours before being allowed into the city.

Wang, who left China after publishing a joint statement with late Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, said immigration officers told him he could only stay if he agreed not to talk to the media, meet any politically sensitive people or attend any public event during his stay.

Wang said he was asked to agree to the three conditions after three hours’ questioning, following his arrival from Taipei on October 16.

Speaking on Tuesday after he returned to Taiwan, Wang, a US passport holder, said three immigration officers took turns to question him, including on the purpose of his trip. None of them explained why he was subjected to the conditions, he said.

“I agreed to the conditions because I only planned to meet some old friends and visit some public and university libraries,” Wang said.

Wang, who was denied entry to Hong Kong in 2011, was released at about 12am on October 17, and granted a week-long stay in the city.

The dissident said he sent a letter to Hong Kong’s leader, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, in May to ask if he could visit the city.

“I told her that I support democracy in China, but I oppose any form of separatism. Therefore Hong Kong should not shut me out,” Wang said.

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He said as the Security Bureau’s subsequent reply to him denied the existence of any visitors’ blacklist, he decided to try his luck this month.

The activist was jailed for two years in Guangdong province in 1977 after he openly called for “socialist democracy and rule of law” in 1974.

In 1981, he was sentenced to 14 years in jail for his part in forming an opposition party. He was released in 1993.

In 1996, he and Liu released a joint statement in Guangzhou calling on the Chinese Communist Party and the Kuomintang, which was then the ruling party in Taiwan, to start negotiations for the “peaceful and democratic unification of China”.

The statement also said the Communist Party must seriously review its mistakes to win the confidence of the Hong Kong and international communities that it would keep the city’s capitalist system unchanged for 50 years.

A spokesman for the Hong Kong government said people who do not have the right of abode or the right to land in Hong Kong are subject to immigration examination upon arrival, under the law.

The Immigration Department would “handle each case in accordance with law, prevailing policies and procedures, and individual circumstances of each case”, he said.