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China 3 July 2008

Hong Kong newspaper reporter turned back on arrival in Beijing

Reporters Without Borders calls on the International Olympic Committee to intercede on behalf of reporter Norman Choy of the Hong Kong-based Apple Daily newspaper, who was turned back on arrival in Beijing on 1 July despite having press accreditation for the Olympic Games.

“We hope the Beijing authorities were guilty of no more than an administrative mistake,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Apple Daily is known for being critical of the communist government, but a journalist with accreditation for the Olympics must be allowed to enter China without any problem.”

Choy told Reporters Without Borders he arrived at Beijing international airport on flight from Hong Kong with one of his colleagues, a photographer, who had no problem being admitted. But Choy was taken off to a room where immigration officials questioned him about what he planned to do in Beijing.

After a few minutes, an immigration officer told him that, under the national security law, his mainland China travel permit would have to be confiscated and he would have to be sent back to Hong Kong. After an hour and a half in China, he was put on a plane back to Hong Kong. This was Choy’s third visit as a journalist to the mainland.

Choy was one of two Apple Daily journalists to be given accreditation to cover the Olympic Games. Referring to his deportation, he added: “I am very surprised by this decision and I hope that the Hong Kong authorities or the organisers of the Olympic Games will help me to return to China to cover them.”

Several European journalists have complained to Reporters Without Borders in recent months that they have been having problems in getting press visas for China.

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