freedom of speech

Hong Kong Journalists Denied Entry to Macau Ahead of Xi Jinping’s Visit

On December 20 Xi Jinping, the president of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), will visit the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the transfer of sovereignty of the former Portuguese colony.  

But while the Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying will attend the ceremony in Macau, Hong Kong journalists have already been denied entry to the neighbouring region. 

As the newspaper Apple Daily reported, yesterday  one of its journalists was denied entry into Macau. 

According to the paper, on December 12 the journalist took a ferry to Macau. After his arrival at the ferry station he went to the Immigration Hall, where the police prevented him from entering Macau. 

Public security officers took him to an examination room and asked for the purpose of his visit. The journalist replied he was there for an interview – without specifying whether he was the interviewer or the interviewee. 

The officers checked his documents and about half an hour later they told him that he had been denied entry. They handed him a note stating that his visit constituted a “threat to the stability of internal security” (內部保安的穩定構成威脅). He was then sent back to Hong Kong.   

He wasn’t the only journalist to have been denied entry to the former Portuguese colony ahead of Xi Jinping’s visit. Recently, a journalist surnamed Gao was rejected, too. During Occupy Central, he had been arrested and accused of assaulting police officers. 

As ‘Mingpao’ reports, several Hong Kong citizens were denied access through the e-Channel because they had been banned from Macau. Among them was a man surnamed Lin, who had taken part in protest activities in the past. 

The behaviour of the Macau Public Security Police isn’t news. Barring Hong Kong journalists and activists has become routine in Macau prior to the anniversary of the handover. Usually, however, entry denials start 3 days before the ceremony.

The decision of the Macau authorities to bar ‘unwelcome’ reporters and activists sheds light on the dubious understanding that the MSAR government has of the concept of rule of law. Arbitrarily denying citizens access to a part of what is supposed to be their own country is incompatible with a free press and freedom of expression. This once again shows that the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ model has not been duly put into practice because of the unaccountability of the local government.   

Flag of Macau (source: Wikipedia)

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