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Wanted Tiananmen dissident enters Hong Kong

HONG KONG (AFP) - One of the 21 "most-wanted" Tiananmen Square student protesters has been allowed to enter Hong Kong, a surprise move ahead of the 20th anniversary of the crackdown on the demonstrations.

Xiong Yan, who was a leading student protester during the 1989 demonstrations in Beijing and now lives in exile in the United States, was allowed into Hong Kong without questioning, he said Sunday.

"I was very surprised as I have tried many, many times to come," said Xiong, who arrived Saturday night, the first time he had set foot on Chinese soil in 17 years.

"I hope in the future I can not only go to Hong Kong, but also to Beijing," he added.

On Sunday, he took part in an annual March to mark the military crackdown on the pro-democracy protests and said he would join the candlelight vigil in the city this Thursday, which is expected to be attended by tens of thousands.

The 1989 military crackdown in Beijing followed weeks of protests and left hundreds, possibly thousands dead across Beijing and led to the imprisonment of scores of protesters.

Xiong, a law graduate, met then-Premier Li Peng during the demonstrations 20 years ago.

He was placed on a list of 21 most-wanted students in the weeks after the crackdown and jailed for two years, before being smuggled out of China via Hong Kong to the United States.

He is now a chaplain in the US army and arrived in the city travelling on a US passport.

In Hong Kong, he was also launching a book about his life, including his role in the protests and his experiences during the Iraq War, where he was posted in 2004, the Sunday Morning Post said.

Several other Tiananmen dissidents have been denied entry to Hong Kong in recent years, although the city operates a separate legal and immigration system from mainland China.

Commenting on Xiong's entry, chairman of the city's Democratic Party, Albert Ho, told AFP he was surprised and said it was "probably due to an omission" by the immigration authorities.

Meanwhile, a Danish sculptor who flew to Hong Kong to protest the Tiananmen crackdown has been refused entry to the city.

Jens Galschiot, whose sculpture commemorating those who died in 1989, "Pillar of Shame," is displayed at Hong Kong University, was stopped by officials Saturday, an immigration spokesman said. (AFP)

MySinchew 2009.05.31

 

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