Declaration from TheColorOrange team
that was refused
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28 April 2008
Declaration from TheColorOrange team that was refused entrance into Hong Kong
We are finally back in Denmark but we are still extremely disappointed in being denied entrance into Hong Kong.
We have travelled 20,000 km and spend 60,000 Hong Kong Dollars, not to mention hundreds of hours of work and preparation to go and participate in a peaceful and all through legal event. We would have painted The Pillar of Shame – a symbol of the Tiananmen Massacre and the lack of freedom of expression in China – orange in cooperation with the legal democratic movement (HK Alliance) and the Hong Kong Students.
We are therefore stunned and amazed to be treated like criminals when arriving in Hong Kong. We were contained for 6 hours after which we were escorted to, and forced to take, a plane to Denmark by armed police and staff of the airport.
Even though we asked continuously, we never got a reason for the refusal and the only answer we could get was that we were refused for “immigration reasons”. At this moment we still don’t know the reason of being denied entrance. The immigration staff told us that the head of airport division Mr. L. Y. Chang was responsible for the order, but that we could not talk to him.
We had our mobile phones and cameras confiscated, so that we could only contact friends and relatives through the office’s telephone, which was in a bad shape and had no international connection. Our lawyer Mr. Albert Ho from the democratic movement in Hong Kong came to advice us, but was refused entrance to the airport.
Even though two persons from the group were equipped with international and official PRESS cards and we could document that we were going to Hong Kong to visit friends and participate in non-violent, legal, democratic actions we were still expelled. We have been in Hong Kong two times earlier, to make art and exhibitions and at both these trips we have been acting non-violent.
When China took over Hong Kong in 1997 they promised that it would be “one country two systems”. However it seems that this is no longer the case as Hong Kong refuses entrance to a peaceful sculptor and his helpers that just wanted to paint a sculpture orange.
Even if we don’t get to paint The Pillar of Shame ourselves, it will be painted by the Hong Kong Alliance and students of Hong Kong U.
From Denmark we will at a later time send out a press release where we encourage people all over the world, to make a manifestation for The Color Orange as a symbol of the lack of human rights in China during and after the Olympics. We will ask them to support this, by tying orange strings and pieces of orange cloth to sculptures in their countries and towns and thus promote the debate.
Signing of documents and treatment of the immigration personnel
We have been informed that the Hong Kong immigration is claiming that we were not allowed to enter Hong Kong because we did not sign certain papers. This is not true, and the immigration officials know this.
When we were at the immigration office we were questioned for several hours about a number of things. We were NOT asked to sign any papers until about 7 pm, when the immigration officials told us that we were denied access to Hong Kong. The paper we were asked to sign was a “Refusal Notice” that we refused to sign as we did not want to confirm that we were expelled. We said that we would sign the document as soon as our Lawyer arrived (which he was not allowed to). Of other documents that we later refused to sign without the presence of a lawyer were two documents about our rights while contained at the airport. We were not presented with any other documents.
We want to stress that none of the documents that we were presented with, had anything to do with letting us enter Hong Kong. If we could have signed a paper that let us enter Hong Kong we would of course have done that without questions!
We see the issue of signing paper as the Hong Kong officials’ vague attempt to legalise the refusal of us. However, what happened was that we were denied from entering, without any real reason (we don’t take “immigration reasons” for a real answer) and without the possibility of seeing a lawyer. Our lawyer, Albert Ho, was standing outside the airport, but was not allowed to enter to see us.
The manners of the immigration officials were peaceful and our time in Hong Kong went without violence of any kind. However when asking us to leave for the plane, about 15 policemen with normal police guns had entered the room and were watching us. All in all some 40 people was in the room and it was in the air that we would be forced out to the plane if we did not go voluntarily. As we are non-violent we didn’t wish for this to happen and left for the plane peacefully, but with an escort of about 10 officials and police from the immigration office.
(+45) 4044 7058 / (+45) 6618 4058
Video footage from the only Danish activist in Hong Kong:
(+45) 40 215 415
(+852) 2782 6111
Immigration office (+852) 2182 1414
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