NB: This press release is also available on the Internet:
Galschiot expelled as revenge for Dalai Lama visit?
As Danish sculptor Jens Galschiot landed in Hongkong on Saturday 30 May he was expelled after 5 hours of interrogation and sent back with the first plane. China will with this expulsion of a Danish citizen humiliate an punish the Danish government for the meeting with the Dalai Lama – so the rumours circulating in Hong Kong.
The Danish sculptor had come to Hong Kong with his two sons and a documentary filmmaker to participate in the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre on 4th June. Danish consul Tomas Andersen had come to the gate to meet the artist. Numerous reporters had booked a return ticket to catch the opportunity for an interview before Galschiot’s passing the pass control.
At the pass control Jens Galschiot was sorted out for interrogation. The other three members of the Danish group entered smoothly. The interrogation started immediately, although Galschiot requested the assistance of the Danish consul and Albert Ho, MP and of the most respected lawyers of Asia. Both of them had come to the airport for this very reason. Only after 4 – 5 hours of interrogation the consul and the lawyer were allowed to meet Galschiot. The consul had been calling Immigration every 20 minutes requesting contact to the Danish sculptor. After ended interrogation Galschiot was escorted to the airplane.
”I was escorted by 15 airport officials and a guy filmed the scene. It must have been a peculiar view. They were all circulating around me and conducted me in and out of lifts and through various backdoors. Finally a short bus trip brought me to the waiting plane which I boarded by a special staircase outside the boarding area. Presumably they were keen to avoid photo documentation of the expulsion. Maybe the authorities felt shameful of the perspective of having photos of the expulsion published in the media. Anyway, I was constantly filmed as long as was in charge of the immigration authorities. I don’t know for what purpose” – Jens Galschiot explains on his arrival in the airport of Copenhagen Sunday morning.
Astonishment at the expulsion. So was the reaction of the artist, the Danish consul and the lawyer Albert Ho. For months there had been a vivid correspondence and a debate about Jens Galschiot’s claim to receive an advance admission to Hong Kong. The issue was debated in the press, even among the PM’s of Hong Kong. The President of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (parliament) had taken contact to the secretary of security. So it seemed likely that the artist would be allowed entry to Hong Kong, to join the anniversary ceremonies and to hand over two sculptures as a gift – one to the Hong Kong students and one for the Legislative Council.
“On this positive background I decided to book the tickets”, Jens Galschiot says and continues: “Albert asked me if there had been some event during the last couple days ahead of my trip to Hong Kong that might have changed the authorities’ apparently positive response about my allowance to entry.
I could not instantly find any explanation, until I read the speculations in the Hong Kong press that my expulsion might be a reaction on the Danish Prime minister’s meeting with the Dalai Lama. This meeting had triggered an irate protest from the Chinese Embassy. So it seems plausible to conclude that we have to do with an act of revenge by the Chinese regime. The expulsion of me as a Danish citizen is to be seen as an admonition and an attempt to humiliate the Danish government.
Even if the Hongkongers were promised the principle of ‘One country – Two systems” when they were reunited with China in 1997, obviously a constantly bigger part of the administration of Hong Kong is governed from Beijing, and it is my clear impression that China is the instigator of this expulsion.
This expulsion makes me really angry! With the support from many of the parliament members of Hong Kong and from almost all parties of the Danish parliament and the Danish Consulate in Hong Kong, I have tried for months to get a clarification about whether I am unwanted in Hong Kong, because I would prevent this to happen. Dozens of letters in this case have been exchanged and kilometres of articles in the press have been written. Nothing has been hidden. All documents are published on my website and the director of Hong Kong’s migration authorities has personally told me that like all other EU citizens I have free entrance to Hong Kong.
I have to travel 12.000 km just for being questioned for 5 hours in the airport before being sent back with the first flight. And even without any reason. It’s really unfair! I am totally without legal rights when I cannot beforehand know whether I am unwanted or not. This procedure is not worthy a community founded on the rule of law. But the problem is maybe that Hong Kong is developing into a community which is not based on the rule of law.
Maybe Denmark and EU should consider cancelling or changing the agreements about free entrance to and from Hong Kong. Obviously these rules don’t work any more, because China has decided to use the entry rules to Hong Kong as a political manifestation, both towards their own citizens in Hong Kong and the Danish government, that they will not tolerate criticism of the Chinese regime. In my situation I would prefer a visa demand, so that I would know beforehand whether I could get in or not.
China critics are without legal rights when they want to go into Hong Kong. This lack of rights is a disaster, because Hong Kong is the only place on Chinese soil where criticism can be aired. Hong Kong is the hub of the Chinese democracy movement – a refuge for democracy fighters.
I expect the Danish government to take action, to make clear how the rules should be in the future, and to protest against the expulsion of a peaceful Danish citizen, who cooperates with a lawful Chinese democratic movement. Especially because the expulsion is probably a direct consequence of the fact that the Danish Prime minister has chosen to meet the Dalai Lama. A decision that I fully support.
Galschiot’s two sons are still in Hong Kong and will take part in the planned events as representatives of the artist. The Danish documentary photographer has also decided to stay in order to cover the events.
Contact addresses and further information and background:
All documents and plenty of photos are available on the web: www.aidoh.dk/4June09
The Danish group in Hong Kong:
Lasse Galschiot Markus, mobile +852 5174 6301
Kasper Galschiot Markus (photos), mobile +852 5174 6300
Niller Madsen (documentary footage and video), mobile: +45 40 215 415
Contact to the Hong Kong Alliance (the democracy movement):
Secretary Ocean Fung, +852 2782 6111
Contact to Jens Galschiot in Denmark:
Workshop in Odense +45 6618 4058, mobile +45 4044 7058
Private +45 6614 4038
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Internet: www.aidoh.dk
Contact to the Consulate General of Denmark in Hong Kong:
Consul General Jørgen Møllegaard
Vice-consul Tomas Andersen (assisted Jens Galschiot in the HK airport)
Tel. +852 2827 8101, email@example.com
Immigration Department in Hong Kong:
The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Tel. +852 2182 1483, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact to the President of Hong Kong’s parliament:
The President of the LegCo, Hon Jasper Tsang Yok-sing
Room 109, Legislative Council Building
8 Jackson Road, Central