Organisers said they suspect three Taiwanese political figures were barred from attending a forum in Hong Kong due to their links to the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

The chairwoman of the CS Culture Foundation, Susie Chiang Su-hui, said on Friday that Beijing refused to be associated with the DPP, as it failed to acknowledge the “1992 consensus” — a tacit agreement made between Chinese officials and the Beijing-friendly Kuomintang (KMT) that there is only “one China”.

A representative of the foundation said earlier that they received notification from the China Liaison Office in Hong Kong on Tuesday that the visas were denied at the last minute. “We considered who would be more appropriate to come to Hong Kong when we invited the speakers. We wanted to invite those who speak more fairly and have a neutral point of view, who are not too radical,” Charles Ma, an executive with the foundation, told HKFP.

Susie Chiang Su-hui. File

One of the scheduled speakers was the former spokesperson for KMT, Yang Wei-chung, who said he was denied a visa although it was already approved.

“The intended topic [of my keynote] was originally ‘The rise of dominant countries and awakening of small countries: Confronting the impact of nationalism across the strait,” he posted on Facebook. “I thought Hong Kong people administer Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy.”

Fan Shih-ping, a member of the consultative committee of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, was also denied entry. Chiang told Stand News that the last-minute denial came as the Beijing government was “not happy about his newspaper articles” supporting Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen.

Lawmaker Kuo Jeng-liang of the DPP was also barred from entering the city.

Entitled “How to untangle cross-strait deadlock”, the forum was held on Thursday at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Koel Chu

Koel Chu is a second-year journalism and fine arts student at the University of Hong Kong. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Koel is interested in the arts and urban design. She interned at China Radio International in Beijing and, at her university, she also works as Vice-President of Branding and Marketing in AIESEC, the largest youth-run organisation in the world.