It breaks news today that Wang Dan, the former student leader of China’s democracy movement in 1989, was refused entry to Hong Kong to mourn Szeto Wah, a democracy veteran. Wang said he felt both angry and sad towards Hong Kong Government’s decision.
To gain entry to the city for the memorial service held on 29 Jan , Wang had pledged to the authority he would not stay overnight in the city and would keep a low profile, including not speaking to the press and not participating in any public activity. He just wanted to come to Hong Kong to pay tribute to Szeto Wah, who he sees as his mentor, he said.
He was informed today that, despite his pledge, the Hong Kong Government had rejected his application.
Wang once topped the Chinese government’s most wanted list of leaders of 1989 movement. He was sentenced to four years imprisonment in 1991. After being released on parole in 1993, Wang was rearrested in 1995 for “conspiring to overthrow the Communist Party” because of writing to overseas publications. He went into exile in 1998 prior to former US president Bill Clinton’s visit to China.
In his reaction towards Hong Kong Government’s decision, Wang said it showed that “one country two systems” is a lie and the Beijing will is tightly controlling the governance of Hong Kong. “Hong Kong Government has thoroughly given up on its right of self governance.”
I should mention that Wang Dan is one of the people on earth I respect. His memoir about his prison time Prison Memoirs is deeply touching. Since his exile, he has not been able to return to China and has not seen his parents since. There is a campaign in Hong Kong petitioning for the Chinese Government to allow the return of dissidents like Wang Dan so that they can reunion with their families, especially their aging parents. That call, of course. has not been heeded, and now Wang Dan is not even allowed to step on the soil of Hong Kong.