A Taiwanese official said the Hong Kong government should treat civil exchanges between their two places with an open mind and a positive attitude so as not to hurt the city’s image in the eyes of Taiwan people or affect their relationship built over many years.
Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng made the remarks after Chang Tieh-chih, a Taiwanese cultural and political commentator who had lived in Hong Kong for several years, said on his Twitter account on Wednesday afternoon that he was denied entry to Hong Kong earlier that day, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Chang’s wife, a Hongkonger, was allowed to enter.
Chang, a former editor-in-chief of lifestyle and cultural monthly City Magazine, said on Facebook that he used to enter Hong Kong with his Hong Kong identity card but was told on Wednesday that his card had expired.
A spokesman for the Immigration Department declined to comment on the incident, but it is believed that Chang was refused entry because he currently serves as deputy secretary-general of the Taipei-based General Association of Chinese Culture, which is funded by the Taiwan government and chaired by Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.
Chang said on his Facebook page that he, in a private capacity, was invited to attend a “four-city” cultural exchange conference in Hong Kong that aims to explore exchange opportunities among Hong Kong, Taipei, Shanghai and Shenzhen. The forum started on Thursday.
He said he was told by the immigration department that his identity card had expired. But he noted that he had had no problems entering Hong Kong for similar purposes using his ID card before Wednesday.
Chang said it will be very sad if he cannot visit Hong Kong as he has deep feelings for the city. Still, he hopes to see more free and normal exchanges between Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Chiu said a Hong Kong member of his council has contacted the government to know the reasons behind the incident, adding that similar incidents have happened in recent years.
In October, British human rights activist Benedict Rogers, who serves as deputy chairman of the UK Conservative Party’s human rights commission, was also denied entry to Hong Kong.
The Civic Party said it is highly concerned about what happened to Chang and asked the Hong Kong government to explain if the incident had something to do with Chang’s political stance.
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