Taiwanese political and cultural commentator Chang Tieh-chih has said he was denied entry to Hong Kong after arriving at the airport on Wednesday.
The former editor-in-chief of prominent Hong Kong lifestyle publication City Magazine, Chang lived in the city and moved back to Taiwan two years ago. He said on Facebook that he was planning to come to Hong Kong to attend a cultural conference.
“I watched as my wife passed through,” he wrote on Twitter Wednesday afternoon. Chang’s wife is a Hongkonger.
Chang said in another post that he had a Hong Kong resident identity card, but border officials told him it was expired when he produced it. He then tried to apply for a visa online at the airport, but it was rejected.
“I have always cared about the cultural exchange between Taiwan and Hong Kong – it is a very sad thing if I cannot go to Hong Kong,” he said.
A columnist with a range of publications in Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China, Chang has been vocal in supporting democracy and social movements on both sides of the strait. According to Stand News, however, he is not affiliated with any political party.
“This is the first time that a Taiwanese person who holds no government post and is not part of the political system [has been denied entry],” said Hong Kong pro-democracy legislator Kwok Ka-ki on Wednesday evening. “He’s just a private citizen.”
“Firstly, this damages ‘One Country, Two Systems’,” added the Civic Party lawmaker. “Secondly, this causes great damage to the international reputation of Hong Kong.”
“This will have an effect on the judgement of Taiwanese people who want to come to Hong Kong for work or tourism.”
Chang is the latest in a line of politically-vocal individuals to have been denied entry to Hong Kong. Two months ago British activist Benedict Rogers was also barred from entry at the airport. The Chinese Foreign Ministry then accused the UK of interfering in the country’s internal affairs.
Last October, Taiwanese pro-independence lawmaker Freddy Lim was also denied a visa to Hong Kong.
HKFP has contacted Chang and the Immigration Department for comment.