HONG KONG — Leaders of student protest groups in the city who attempted to fly to Beijing to make the case for greater democracy to Chinese officials have been turned back at the airport, according to reports.
Alex Chow, Nathan Law and Eason Chung, leaders of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, one of the groups that has been at the forefront of pro-democracy protests in the city for the last six weeks, were denied boarding for their Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to Beijing, after being informed that their travel documents were invalid, according to a report from the Associated Press.
According to local broadcaster RTHK, the group’s Home Return Permits, the visas which Hong Kong residents require to travel to mainland China, had been cancelled. The student leaders had hoped to have talks with senior Chinese leaders, including Premier Li Keqiang, or members of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee.
The group had been accompanied to Hong Kong’s airport by well-wishers, toting the yellow umbrellas which have become emblematic of the city’s pro-democracy protest movement.
The protest group leaders had earlier said that they would cancel their proposed trip if police in the city appeared likely to attempt to remove demonstrators from protest sites, and said that they were prepared to face arrest in pursuit of their goals, according to EJInsight, a respected Asian news analysis blog.
The news of the protesters’ rejection came as Carrie Lam, a former chief secretary — Hong Kong’s most senior government official after the chief executive — said that any such trip was “unnecessary”. Lam said that the report of a public consultation submitted to Beijing by Hong Kong’s government “pointed out with faith that there are different opinions about the nomination process of the chief executive. That included civil nomination proposed by the Federation of Students,” according to a report from the South China Morning Post. .. see more