Associated Press Worldstream

February 18, 2004 Wednesday

By MIN LEE; Associated Press Writer

HONG KONG - A Canadian Falun Gong follower who once was kicked out of mainland China for protesting in Beijing now has been barred from flying into Hong Kong, the group said Thursday.

The meditation group charged that Hong Kong was undermining its own freedoms and rule of law by refusing to admit 26-year-old Zenon Dolnyckyj, who wanted to visit Hong Kong to promote a book he has written about practicing Falun Gong.

Falun Gong was outlawed [...] by China in 1999 but remains legal in Hong Kong, where Western-style freedoms were maintained when the former British colony was handed to Beijing rule in 1997.

Still, practitioners have reported that a number of foreign followers have been refused entry in Hong Kong.

Dolnyckyj was expelled from China in November 2001 after he and other foreign Falun Gong practitioners unfurled a banner in Beijing's Tiananmen Square and were caught by police. Falun Gong accuses China of torturing hundreds of its followers to death [...]

Falun Gong said that Dolnyckyj tried to board a Hong Kong-bound China Airlines flight in Taipei on Wednesday evening, but he was turned away by an airline employee who said Hong Kong immigration had warned against letting him fly.

Falun Gong said the airline worker told Dolnyckyj he could not take the flight because he did not have an entry visa for Hong Kong, but the group called the explanation suspicious. Canadian citizens normally are allowed to travel to Hong Kong for up to 90 days without visas.

Hong Kong Immigration Department spokesman K.K. Au declined comment, saying the department won't discuss individual cases.

The Canadian Consulate General in Hong Kong and China Airlines in Taipei did not immediately return phone calls from The Associated Press.

Dolnyckyj, who runs an office-cleaning business in Toronto, had hoped to promote his book "Coming for You," Falun Gong said.