HONG KONG, Jul 1, 2002 -- (dpa) Fifty more Falun Gong members were reportedly detained Sunday at Hong Kong's airport ahead of a visit by Chinese president Jiang Zemin, bringing to almost 90 the number barred entry to the territory.
The practitioners from Taiwan told radio station RTHK that they had been detained by immigration officials after flying in on Saturday night and are expected to be deported later on Sunday.
Thirty-seven other Falun Gong members from Sweden, Singapore, Australia, France and Switzerland have already been detained and deported in the run-up to Jiang Zemin's visit.
The practitioners hoped to take part in demonstrations in the territory against the arrest and alleged torture and killing of scores of Falun Gong practitioners in mainland China, where the movement is oppressed [...].
Jiang Zemin is due to arrive Sunday in Hong Kong for celebrations to mark the fifth anniversary of the territory's return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 after a century and a half of British colonial rule.
Hong Kong's Secretary for Security Regina Ip confirmed Saturday that deportations were taking place but denied there was a blacklist of people who would not be allowed into Hong Kong.
A number of demonstrations will take place during Monday's handover anniversary celebrations, but protestors are being restricted by police to special zones set up a distance from official ceremonies.
Hong Kong, which maintains freedom of expression and speech following its return to Chinese rule, is the only place on Chinese soil apart from Macau where Falun Gong practitioners can practice and demonstrate after the movement was suppressed in China in 1999.