Tibetan & two Tibet campaigners denied entry to Hong Kong

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Free Tibet Campaign Press Officer, Matt Whitticase was today denied entry to Hong Kong and was deported to the UK after hours of questioning at the airport. Tsering Lhama and Kate Woznow from Students for a Free Tibet were also stopped and sent back to the US. Matt was questioned by Jardine Immigration Services, a private company.

Matt Whitticase, a British citizen aged 39, was travelling to Hong Kong to take part in a press conference to be staged there before the passage of the Olympic Torch Relay through Hong Kong on Friday May 2. He was due to meet in Hong Kong spokespeople from other Tibet groups who were also scheduled to take part in the press conference. Matt was planning to offer fresh eyewitness accounts to what happened in Lhasa after the beginning of major protests in Lhasa on March 17. He was also intending to outline the concerns of Tibet groups worldwide that China's insistence on taking the Olympic Torch through Tibet would spark further protests from Tibetans leading to further bloodshed after an inevitable Chinese crackdown.

The refusal to admit Matt came days after three Danish citizens were refused entry to Hong Kong.

Matt Whitticase said: "2008 is the year that China is supposed to be opening up to the world in anticipation of the Olympics. But everywhere one looks, China is slamming the door in the face of free expression. Tourists are being refused entry to Tibet, journalists are being prevented from reporting freely from Tibet, Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai and now I have been denied entry to Hong Kong. I came to Hong Kong to talk to journalists about the dire humanitarian situation in Tibet on the eve of the Olympic Torch being taken up Mt Everest and through the streets of Hong Kong. Denying me entry not only represents a slap in the face for the concept of "one country, two systems"; it also demonstrates yet again that China clearly has much to hide in Tibet."

End

Sophie Bod
Campaigns Officer, Free Tibet Campaign

Contact Sophie Bod at sophie@freetibet.org or on +44 (0) 783 211 7927 for more information.