Sect criticises treatment of banned overseas members

South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), Feb. 24, 2003

Falun Gong followers yesterday criticised the government for denying entry to dozens of overseas followers, as hundreds marched to protest against the proposed anti-subversion laws.

Of the more than 400 Taiwanese Falun Gong members who planned to visit Hong Kong for a weekend conference, 80 were denied entry, said spokesman Kan Hung-cheung. A Japanese and a Thai practitioner were also denied entry.

But another 560 overseas practitioners from 20 countries managed to enter Hong Kong and participated in yesterday’s march, he said.

Sporting their trademark yellow T-shirts, around 800 followers staged a group practice in Tsim Sha Tsui and Wan Chai, before marching to the Central Government Offices in Central.

Mr Kan said at least nine Taiwanese followers were treated violently by immigration officials. Some were allegedly dragged away and bundled on to flights back to Taiwan. Others were locked up in isolation for up to 20 hours, he said.

Mr Kan said: “If people are treated like this already, it makes us even more worried about what things will be like after the enactment of Article 23.”

Secretary for Constitutional Affairs Stephen Lam Sui-lung said immigration officers’ actions had been legal and reasonable.

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