Hong Kong Falun Gong Head Tries To Sue Government

Associated Press/June 3, 2003

A local leader of the Falun Gong meditation sect is trying to sue Hong Kong immigration officials for barring entry to four Taiwanese practitioners, but a judge hasn't immediately decided whether to let him, a lawyer said Tuesday. Kan Hung-cheung filed a lawsuit along with the Taiwanese in April, alleging Hong Kong violated international human rights standards when it refused to let the Taiwanese enter the territory for a Falun Gong conference in February.

The courts will allow the action by the Taiwanese to proceed, but it is unclear whether Kan, who serves as Falun Gong's spokesman here, can be a plaintiff, Kan's attorney John Clancey said.

Kan contends the Immigration Department violated his right to maintain ties with other religious organizations, which is constitutionally guaranteed in Hong Kong.

Justice Carlye Chu didn't immediately rule on Kan's request after hearing arguments Monday in the Court of First Instance, Clancey said.

Falun Gong has long charged Hong Kong has hindered its activities by denying entry to foreign practitioners.

Falun Gong is outlawed in mainland China as an "evil cult," but it remains free to practice in Hong Kong and holds frequent demonstrations here, though overseas followers have at times been refused entry.

The Immigration Department wouldn't comment on a legal matter that was pending, said spokeswoman Lisa Yip.

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