DHARAMSALA, 18 Dec: As Hong Kong still simmers with the mass pro-democracy protests that griped the island since early June this year, the 20th anniversary of the Macau’s handover to Chia was marked with pompous and overbearing security.
“Macau has been in an unprecedented lockdown ahead of Xi’s visit, as authorities tightened security across the casino hub and suspended part of its newly launched train service,” the South China Morning Post(SCMP) reported.
According to the report, as many as six activist and three Hong Kong journalists have been reportedly denied entry into Macau, just hours before the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Xi Jinping’s arrival in Macau earlier today.
Xi is due to land in Macau today in the afternoon. He will stay over for three days and he is expected to announce a slew of supportive policies, that the media reports described as a reward for Macau’s stability and loyalty, unlike the former British colony of Hong Kong, which has been rocked by anti-government protests for six months.
The six activists from the League of Social Democrats – “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, Avery Ng Man-yuen, Raphael Wong Ho-ming, Tsang Kin-shing, Koo Sze-yiu, Figo Chan Ho-hang – were barred from boarding a ferry to Macau at a Hong Kong pier after a statement from Macau police addressed to the ferry company has requesting their help to bar the six from taking the ferry stating that intelligence had shown the group planned to visit Macau to sabotage anniversary activities.
The activists the report said staged a protest at the Sheung Wan Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal before they were interrupted by a man who took away their protest props which is said to include photos of Xi and Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam.
Meanwhile, journalists from RTHK, Commercial Radio and Now TV were also denied entry to Macau by the police as they said that there ‘were strong signs they would engage in activities that would jeopardise the public and public order in Macau.’
All the journalists were reported to have registered with the Macau government to cover the ceremonies from Wednesday to Friday.
The development came after a SCMP reporter was denied entry on Tuesday and another from Now TV on Monday, the report added.
Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Journalists Association has expressed its regret over the denial of entry to the journalist and further called on the the authorities of Macau and mainland China to respect press freedom in an open letter.
Macau, a former Portuguese colony was handed over to China on 20 Dec 1999 as a result of four conferences from June 1986 to March 1987 that gave birth to a Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration on 13 April 1987.