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Monday, June 25, 2007

Falun Gong practitioner denied entry in Hong Kong

Although Falun Gong seems to thrive in Hong Kong -- it's not entirely through. Beijing's long arm is the culprit.

The Standard: Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - Immigration officials blocked a Taiwanese supporter of the Falun Gong spiritual group from entering Hong Kong and sent her back to Taiwan Monday, the woman said.

Theresa Chu said by telephone from Hong Kong International Airport that officials stopped her as she tried to clear immigration late Sunday night.

Officials informed her that her visit was "not conducive to the public good," she said.

She was sent back to Taiwan about noon Monday, she said.

"They wrapped me with a blanket and put me in a wheelchair. They are very rude," Chu later said in Taiwan.

Chu's denial of entry came as Hong Kong prepares to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the handover in 1997.

Falun Gong members have used such high-profile events in the past to stage protests against the central government, which has labeled the group an evil cult and banned it in the mainland.

The Immigration Department declined to discuss Chu's case.

"The government will not comment on individual cases," the department said.

Immigration officials have a history of blocking Falun Gong members from entering Hong Kong.

However, the group is not banned in the territory.

Chu acknowledged that she planned to attend a protest during the July 1 handover ceremony.

"The problem is they don't like me. I'm a human rights lawyer. Also, I'm a Falun Gong practitioner who will join the demonstration," Chu said.

Chu has been refused entry before in Hong Kong.

She was among some 80 Taiwanese followers who were stopped in February 2003 from attending a Falun Gong conference in the city. ASSOCIATED PRESS

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