AP, Aug. 23, 2002
HONG KONG – A Falun Gong follower from Australia who hoped to deliver an appeal on behalf of the meditation sect at an exhibition of her artwork here said Friday she was barred from entering the territory.
Painter Zhang Cuiying, who was jailed in mainland China for Falun Gong activities, had intended to open an exhibition of her traditional Chinese-style art in Hong Kong’s City Hall, the site of an earlier Falun Gong conference that sparked controversy.
Zhang, an Australian citizen, said by telephone from Sydney she had been kept out of Hong Kong when she tried to attend that conference in January 2001, and was again barred Thursday.
“I’m obviously on their blacklist,” Zhang told The Associated Press after flying back to Sydney. “This is absolutely unacceptable for Hong Kong, which is supposed to have freedom of speech.”
Zhang said her art has nothing to do with Falun Gong, but added she’d hoped to voice an appeal to China to stop cracking down on the group outlawed by Beijing as an “evil cult.”
Immigration Department spokesman K.Y. Tsui declined to comment on Zhang’s case, but said all applications for entry into Hong Kong are processed according to the law.
The exhibit of Zhang’s art was organized by a U.S. publishing company, Epoch Group Ltd., which said it is not affiliated with Falun Gong although it carries writings by some of the group’s followers in its Chinese-language weekly, The Epoch Times.
After the exhibit opened Friday, Hong Kong officials demanded that the organizers remove several copies of a 61-page book featuring Zhang’s paintings and her message condemning Beijing’s crackdown on Falun Gong, according to the paper’s chief editor, Amy Chu.