Amid heightened security during Xi Jinping’s two-day visit, a group of 14 Hong Kong activists and four Apple Daily reporters were refused entry to Macau as they posed “a threat to public safety.”
This follows a similar refusal early this month, as outspoken Apple Daily reported on December 13 that one of its reporters as well as a pro-democracy protestor had been refused entry in Macau and sent back to Hong Kong because they posed “a threat to internal security.”
On Friday, within half an hour of their arrival at the Outer Harbor at noon, activists carrying their yellow umbrellas – a symbol of Hong Kong’s fight for democracy – were stopped at immigration counters and were sent back to Hong Kong. Four reporters of the Apple Daily newspaper, who were planning to cover Xi Jinping’s visit, were also sent back.
South China Morning Post reported that back in Hong Kong, activists showed documents stating that they had been refused entry since authorities had “strong evidence” that their activities would threaten Macau’s public safety.
The Hong Kong activists were led by League of Social Democrats chairman and lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung, also known as “Long Hair,” who was also denied entry to Macau. Leung stated that authorities also prevented citizens from carrying umbrellas into ceremonial venues. “I’ve never seen such a barbaric decision before. It’s really funny,” he commented.
Another Hong Kong democrat, Andrew Wan Siu-kin, who was also refused entry, told South China Morning Post that authorities even held people with the same name of Hong Kong pan-democrats.
The activists protested at Macau’s ferry terminal before they were sent back to the neighboring SAR, raising their yellow umbrellas and banners.
The newly sworn-in Secretary for Security and former Judiciary Police head, Wong Sio Chak, said that authorities refused entry not because some were journalists but due to the fact they “posed a risk to MSAR’s security,” TDM reported. “It’s natural and in line with Macau’s law and international practice. According to intelligence we gathered on some of these individuals, there’s evidence of a risk to MSAR’s security,” he reiterated.
Meanwhile, local pro-democracy groups New Macau Association and Youth Dynamics carried on with their planned protest for Saturday, even though they were not allowed to organize an assembly at the Penha Garden, since the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) imposed restrictions on the demonstration’s proposed route.
Dozens of citizens took to the streets calling for universal suffrage as Xi Jinping’s visit concluded on Saturday afternoon.
Political activist and member of New Macau Jason Chao stated that it is hard to explain why not many people joined the protest, particularly if one considers the findings of a recent survey revealing that 60 percent of Macau citizens are in favor of the implementation of universal suffrage for the Chief Executive elections in 2019.
The question, as Chao said, is, “to what extent are citizens willing to devote their time and resources to fight for it?”
The protest began at Tap Seac Square and demonstrators marched to the government’s headquarters, finally holding an assembly at the Friendship square. Some of the protestors carried yellow umbrellas in support for Hong Kong’s Occupy movement.
The Labor Party and Workers’ Self-Help Association also hold a protest on Saturday. They urged the government to provide more public housing units, TDM reported. Police authorities said that a total of 270 people joined the two rallies. CP