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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Galschiot expelled as revenge for Dalai Lama visit?

June 3, 2009

Press release, 1 June 2009

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

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.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
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