BANGKOK – A leading British human rights activist who has been a vocal critic of China’s erosion of Hong Kong’s political freedoms has been barred from entering the former colony on the eve of a key political summit in Beijing.
Benedict Rogers, the deputy chair of the Conservatives’ human rights commission, flew into Hong Kong on Wednesday morning on a Thai Airways flight from Bangkok but said he was stopped at immigration and refused entry.
“They gave me no explanation at all,” he told the Guardian by phone as he prepared to fly back to Thailand on Wednesday afternoon.
Rogers lived in Hong Kong from 1997 to 2002, and said he had been returning on a private visit to see friends, including a number of prominent democracy activists. “I wanted to come and meet people and learn about the current situation,” he said.
Rogers claimed he had been indirectly warned, through a third party, that the Chinese embassy in London was “extremely concerned” about his plans to visit Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s immigration department said it would not comment on specific cases, but went on to dispute Rogers’ version of events.
Rogers has been an outspoken critic of Beijing’s refusal to grant greater democracy to Hong Kong and its treatment of young activists, such as the umbrella movement leader Joshua Wong. Continue Reading…..
Benedict Rogers is a writer and human rights advocate specializing in Asia. Based in London, he’s a regular contributor to the Guardian, Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune and The New York Times.