Galschiot refused entry into Hong Kong, China


At 11.15 pm local time, 15 guards from the Chinese immigration authorities escorted Danish sculptor Jens Galschiot to a plane returning to Europe. Jens Galschiot was invited to Hong Kong by the peaceful and legal democratic organization The Hong Kong Alliance to participate in the memorial events surrounding the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre in Beijing, June 4th 1989.

The massacre has been commemorated in Hong Kong every year by a Candlelight Vigil. Galschiot attended the event 1997 when he donated the sculpture The Pillar of Shame to the democracy movement. This year the artist was heading for Hong Kong to join the 20th anniversary celebration. He brought along two bronze sculptures as presents, one for the Hong Kong government, and one for the Hong Kong students.

Five days ago, the artist said "I have chosen to go to Hong Kong and try to get in, as I can hardly imagine being rejected again". This was based on the fact that for months he had done everything in his power to get a prior approval (or at least a disapproval) from the immigration authorities in Hong Kong, to prevent a repetition of last year's event when he was refused entrance into Hong Kong. He had contacted the foreign ministry of Denmark and the parliament of Hong Kong, as well as the immigration authorities in Hong Kong. In his communication he was completely honest with his intentions and plans for the visit, giving the Hong Kong authorities every possibility to assess whether Jens Galschiot and his group were suitable for entering Hong Kong. Even the Hong Kong President requested that the immigration department gave Mr. Galschiot a clear answer.

At the airport several important people were present to ensure that Galschiot would be treated fairly. This includes the Danish Vice-consul Tomas Anderson, lawyer Albert Ho and Lee Cheuk Yan from Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, as well as a massive amount of journalists. The Consul stayed close to the immigration office, doing everything in his power for the entire 6 hours, was surprised that there was any problems in a Danish citizen entering Hong Kong.

In spite of all this, the Hong Kong immigration authorities refused to let Jens Galschiot enter Hong Kong with the ambiguous justification: Immigration reasons. Jens Galschiot was escorted by 15 armed guards via back ways to the plain back to Denmark. It seems the reason for this, was to avoid the journalists waiting outside from asking compromising questions about the expulsion - this seems to be a sign that the Hong Kong authorities did not have any real valid reasons for denying Galschiot entrance. Or maybe they were simply ashamed of their actions, which obviously deteriorate the democracy in Hong Kong and questions the principle of ‘One country, Two systems’.

Despite the Hong Kong (China) government's attempts to avoid attention on the Tiananmen massacre, the rest of the artist’s group, will continue the plan as scheduled. Already in the airport, interviews, photos and video footage was given to the press by the activists from Denmark, as well as prominent Hong Kong democracy fighters. Also the two sculptures were presented to the press. Amongst the important activities planned by the Danish group is the Memorial March on 31st of May from Victoria park, handing over of the sculpture on June 1st to the students (who are doing a 64 hour hunger strike), handing over the sculpture to the Hong Kong government, and participating in the Candlelight Vigil, June 4th, on the 20th anniversary for the Tiananmen massacre.