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Friday, June 29, 2007

800 Falun Gong members denied entry at airport, leader claims

One country, two systems -- I think not! Update: Over 800 practitioners have been violently turned away. It is noteworthy the PLA police force was in full operation in the heart of the City (Vancouver Sun)

South China Morning Post - June 29, 2007 Friday ,Section News; Pg. 3 by Nick Gentle and Lawrence Chung in Taipei

More than 140 Falun Gong practitioners have been turned away from Hong Kong as the city prepares for the 10th anniversary of the handover, according to a spokesman for the movement.

The group, banned on the mainland since 1999 when Beijing labelled it an "evil cult", claims the decision to turn away practitioners arriving at the airport from Taiwan was a direct result of pressure from Beijing.

"This is the most severe case [of discrimination] we have ever had in Hong Kong," said Falun Dafa Association of Hong Kong's chairman, Kan Hung-cheung.

"As of this morning, more than 140 people were deported and the number keeps getting bigger every time a plane lands," he said.

Mr Kan alleged some practitioners had been subject to brutal treatment by airport police when they refused to board planes back to Taiwan.

He said there was no reason for them to be refused entry as they were coming to the city to take part in peaceful activities such as a rally and a parade. He said the organisation was considering legal action.

Practitioner and radio reporter Liao Shu-hui was among a group of 23 turned away from Hong Kong 10 hours after their plane from Kaohsiung landed in the city at 7.30pm on Wednesday.

Recalling her experience, Ms Liao said the group had been barred from entering the city when they arrived on Wednesday night.

They had not been given any reason for their denial of entry and were later taken away "by force" and placed in a detention centre, she said.

Ms Liao and fellow practitioners were speaking at a press conference about what she called their "inhumane" treatment by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

She stressed that the group had not been told why they had been denied entry.

They had staged a sit-in at the airport to protest against what they called mistreatment.

Chang Hsiang-hua, another practitioner, said the group had not been given anything to eat or drink when they were in the custody room while their baggage was being searched.

"We were finally put on the plane at around 10am and sent back to Kaohsiung," he added.

Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council yesterday expressed concern over the repatriation of the group, saying Hong Kong authorities should respect the human rights of others.

Meanwhile, the Falun Dafa yesterday filed a personal injury claim in the High Court in Hong Kong against former president Jiang Zemin and former vice-premier Li Lanqing and politburo member Luo Gan.

The suit alleges torture, false imprisonment, assault, battery, malfeasance in public office and a host of other wrongs were committed by the three men against two Hong Kong Falun Gong practitioners, Chu O Ming and Fu Sin-mei.

LOAD-DATE: June 28, 2007

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