Blacklist Incident Arises Again: Falun Gong Practitioner Denied Entry to Thailand
From June 11 to 16, 2002, when Jiang Zemin visited Iceland, he exerted pressure on the Icelandic government concerning Falun Gong, and provided the Icelandic government a blacklist of Falun Gong practitioners. The Icelandic Department of Justice used the blacklist to block the entry of Falun Gong practitioners into Iceland. This led to strong protests by the Icelandic people, and the incident received widespread attention from various governments, media, and people around the world.
On June 5, 2003, the Icelandic Data Protection Authority delivered its formal verdict regarding the blacklist incident: "It was illegal for the Icelandic Department of Justice to provide relevant information of Falun Gong practitioners to Icelandic Airlines, and embassies in USA, Norway, Denmark, England and France, who then used the information to prevent Falun Gong practitioners from entering Iceland."
Regrettably, within two months a similar incident surfaced in Thailand. On July 25, 2003, Dr. Zhen, a postgraduate research fellow from Sydney, Australia, boarded Cathay Pacific Airway flight CX713 from Singapore to Thailand to visit her boyfriend, whom she hadn't seen for quite a long time, and to discuss their wedding plans. At 3:00 p.m. Thailand time, Dr. Zhen arrived at Bangkok Airport, and like her four previous visits to Thailand, she went to apply for her visa at the airport visa office. However, after inputting her name in the computer, the operator called in other officers regarding her application. The other passengers had completed their visa procedures, but there was no word on her application. Then the operator asked her to wait in an office while two more officers came to check her information on the computer. When she asked what the problem was, she was told that there might be problems with her passport.
About one hour later, she was taken to another visa office to have her passport checked, where she waited for an additional half an hour. Finally she was told that her name was the problem. They mentioned the blacklist. She was sent to the police department at the airport to be deported back to Singapore because she was on the blacklist of Falun Gong practitioners. An officer who could speak some Chinese told her, "China and Thailand have diplomatic relations." After 5:00 p.m., two high-ranking officers came, one being a military officer. They had in their hands a copy of document in Thai. They mentioned "Falun Gong" many times in their conversations.
Finally, the two officers came to the decision to have her deported, and denied her request to meet with her boyfriend, who was waiting outside the airport. She was sent to the detention center at the airport, a place where illegal aliens were detained. Her request for a phone call to her boyfriend was also denied; she was told that she could make no phone calls. In contrast, the other detainees at the center were allowed to make or receive phone calls.
At 11:00 a.m. on July 26, three police officers and one female employee at the detention center escorted her to a plane bound for Singapore. After learning of her ordeal and the facts about Falun Gong, one of the police officers expressed his willingness to help, but there was not much he could do. He also expressed the wish to learn more about Falun Gong.
It is a pity for the people of Thailand that their government chooses to maintain and enforce a blacklist of Falun Gong practitioners, a choice that upright countries have acknowledged is wrong and against human decency. Last year, during the APEC meeting in Mexico, Falun Gong practitioners did not encounter any interference, even though the Mexican authorities had the blacklist provided to them by Jiang's regime. The airport personnel welcomed the arrival of Falun Gong practitioners to Mexico.
June 30, 2003