Mia Farrow allowed into Hong Kong ahead of torch relay

May 1st, 2008 - 6:27 pm ICT by admin  

Hong Kong, May 1 (DPA) - Actress Mia Farrow on Thursday was allowed into Hong Kong, where she planned to give a speech criticizing China on the day of the Olympic torch relay through the city, despite speculation she would be turned away. The 63-year-old US citizen passed through immigration Thursday after a brief interview, during which she gave assurances she would not attempt to disrupt Friday’s torch relay, the government-run radio station RTHK reported.

There had been widespread speculation that Farrow might be refused entry into the former British colony after at least four other overseas activists arriving to join in anti-China protests were detained and ejected.

Hong Kong is the only place on Chinese soil apart from Macau where anti-China protests are allowed, and Friday’s relay was being seen as a test of freedom in the city of 6.9 million, which went back to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.

Farrow is due to deliver a speech at Hong Kong’s Foreign Correspondents Club Friday criticizing China for failing to do more to stop genocide in the Dafur region of Sudan, with which China has strong trading links.

She is scheduled to speak as the Olympic torch is being taken on a 33-km relay around the city and was expected to join in some of the human rights protests planned to coincide with the relay.

On Saturday, Danish sculptor and human rights activist Jens Galschiot and his two sons were denied entry to Hong Kong and sent on a plane back to Europe by immigration officials.

A number of other Tibet activists, including Matt Whitticase, the London-based spokesman for the Free Tibet Campaign, have also been refused permission to enter Hong Kong this week.

Hong Kong guarantees the freedom to protest under its “one country, two systems” arrangement with Beijing, which gives people more political freedom than in the rest of China.

However, the Hong Kong government appears anxious to ensure that protests like those seen during the relay legs in London and Paris do not disrupt the Olympic torch as it is taken around the city.

Immigration officials have so far refused to comment on any of the cases in which foreign visitors were denied entry, insisting they would not comment on individual cases, but have said in statements they must “uphold effective immigration control so as to ensure Hong Kong’s public interest.”

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