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China bars radical H.K. legislator from visiting earthquake victims.

HONG KONG, July 4 Kyodo

Hong Kong activist-turned-legislator Leung Kwok-hung was barred from visiting earthquake victims in southwestern China's Sichuan Province along with fellow legislators who embarked on the tour Friday.

Twenty legislators from all parties were invited by the chief executive to a three-day group visit before the Legislative Council is to decide on allocating more quake funds to the victims.

''I was surprised,'' Leung, better known as ''Longhair'' for his trademark hair style, told reporters. ''The authorities said the people in the quake-hit area knew I am 'up to something' other than just visiting, so they denied my entry application.''

Hong Kong citizens need to apply for a home return permit to travel in mainland China.

Some people, including several pro-democracy legislators, have had their permits confiscated or revoked, meaning they are barred from reentering the mainland.

Another four legislators who did not have the permit received last minute approval for the tour.

''Immigration policy is not something we can control,'' Council Chairwoman Rita Fan said. ''Any country has the right to bar entry of any individual. I can't comment on (Leung's case).''

The 25 pro-democracy camp legislators issued an open letter Friday to newly appointed Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, who is to make a three-day maiden visit to Hong Kong from Sunday, seeking a meeting on universal suffrage and home return permits for all legislators who do not already have them.
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Jul 7, 2008
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