Hong Kong activist group denied entry to Macau

Sent home after raising yellow umbrellas at Macau pier during Chinese president’s visit to mark region’s handover anniversary

Hong Kong activist group denied entry to Macau

World Bulletin / News Desk

A group of pro-democracy figures from Hong Kong were sent home by Macau authorities after arriving in the former Portuguese colony Friday, preventing them from putting their case to the visiting Chinese president.

After stepping off their ferry at the Macau pier, 14 protesters raised yellow umbrellas, the symbol of the recent Hong Kong movement in which protesters used umbrellas to defend themselves against pepper spray, according to the South China Morning Post.

Four reporters from pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily who had planned to cover Xi Jinping’s two-day visit to Macau to mark the 15th anniversary of the territory's return to Chinese sovereignty were also denied entry.

The group was required to fill in Macau immigration documents – which some refused to sign – saying they had been denied entry due to “strong evidence” they would attempt to engage in activities that posed a threaten to the region’s public safety.

“It’s a regret that we couldn’t express our views to [President] Xi Jinping in Macau,” the Post quoted “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, the League of Social Democrats chairman who led the group, as saying.

Explaining that people had been prohibited from taking umbrellas into some events even when it was raining, he said, “I’ve never seen such a barbaric decision. It’s really funny.”

Earlier in the day, security was tightened at Macau’s airport for Xi’s arrival, with authorities banning umbrellas in reception areas despite the rainfall and providing visitors with raincoats instead.

The president and his wife Peng Liyuan were received by Chief Executive Dr Fernando Chui Sai-on, who will be officially inaugurated by Xi on Saturday morning after securing a second term in August’s election.

Expressing the central government’s pleasure at celebrating the handover anniversary with Macau’s people, Xi was quoted by the Post as saying, “I would like to see the Macau people, and revisit Macau’s developments in the past 15 years since the handover.”

He stressed that the stability of Macau would continue to thrive under the “one country, two systems” formula.

In November, three student leaders from Hong Kong were denied boarding permits onto a plane as they attempted to travel to Beijing to deliver their demand for greater democracy in the semi-autonomous territory.

The protests – which involved more than 100,000 people at their peak – ended after two and a half months, with the clearance of the final and smallest site in the Causeway Bay shopping district Monday.

A total of 955 people have been taken into custody since the beginning of the protests in September.

Demonstrators had been calling for a fully democratic election with open nominations for the territory's next chief executive in 2017. The Chinese government says it will allow "one man, one vote" suffrage but that candidates will have to be approved by a body loyal to Beijing.

Hong Kong, a former British colony, returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under the “one country, two systems” formula, which promised a high degree of autonomy from Beijing, including universal suffrage.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 23 Aralık 2014, 16:31