Letter to HKSAR Govn’t Regarding Writers and Artists Denied Entry into HK

Mr. Donald Tsang
Chief Executive
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
People’s Republic of China
2nd May 2008
Dear Mr. Tsang,
         We, the undersigned eight international and local organizations, are writing this letter in protest against the denied entry of a writer and three artists into Hong Kong in the last few days. We request a clear public explanation about the denied entry of these people who treasure freedom of expression in Hong Kong.
         The writer denied entry on 29 April, Zhang Yu, is the coordinator of the Writers in Prison Committee of the Independent Chinese PEN Center. The Danish sculptor Jens Galschiot, his two sons, and two colleagues were denied entry on 27 April.
         We believe it is unreasonable for immigration officials to deny their entry. Their plans were peaceful and legitimate and should not raise any public security concerns. Mr. Zhang, a mainland Chinese passport-holder, was coming to Hong Kong to attend a two-day conference and an arts fair on freedom of expression in mainland China and Hong Kong, while Mr. Galschiot came here to repair and paint his art piece the “Pillar of Shame” and to attend the Art Fair we have organized for 3 May, World Press Freedom Day.
         Freedom of expression is a key element of Hong Kong’s success; it is also a core value that Hong Kong people treasure very much. Although a full democratic system is not yet installed, freedom of expression ensures governments are transparent and have the opportunity to receive differing opinions in a peaceful, stable manner. It gives governments the opportunity to avoid mistakes or to redress them when they occur. Freedom of expression also ensures social stability, allowing people to express their diverse opinions peacefully. It reduces conflict. We hope the Hong Kong government does not dispense with this precious value and principle of good governance, which is the foundation of Hong Kong’s success.
         Hong Kong, as a co-host city of the Beijing Olympics, should ensure the free entry of visitors to Hong Kong to take part in lawful and peaceful activities before and during the Olympic Games. We also call on the Hong Kong government to take responsibility and show its patriotism as a special administrative region of the motherland China and help China realize it’s promise — to ensure Freedom of Expression in China.
Yours sincerely,
Co-signed by:
Hong Kong Journalists Association
International Federation of Journalists
Reporters Sans Frontières
World Association of Newspapers
Independent Chinese PEN Center
American PEN
Hong Kong Chinese PEN Center
Sydney PEN Centre
Open Letter to Central Government concerning HK reporter denied entry to Beijing
Open Letter to Central Government on May 3 (World Press Freedom Day)