A member of Taiwan’s independence-leaning ruling party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), has had her visa application rejected by Hong Kong’s Immigration Department.

DPP lawmaker Karen Yu Wan-ju originally planned to attend the three-day Social Enterprise World Forum to be held in Hong Kong this week. Her visa application was rejected on September 23, two days before the forum began.

The lawmaker told Liberty Times on Sunday that Hong Kong immigration had not given her any explanation for rejecting her visa application.

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DPP lawmaker Karen Yu Wan-ju. Photo: Karen Yu, via Facebook.

The Immigration Department told HKFP that it would not comment on individual cases, and that it considers all relevant factors in deciding whether to approve applicants’ entry in accordance with the laws of Hong Kong.

Yu said that she had visited Hong Kong many times to talk about social enterprise development in both government- and citizen-led events. This was her first time her entry to Hong Kong was rejected.

The DPP lawmaker “regretted” not being able to share Taiwan’s experience in social enterprises with the international community. The forum is an international event for social enterprises from across the world to discuss policies and practice.

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Karen Yu’s profile on the Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) website. Photo: SEWF website.

Beijing has routinely prevented Taiwan from attending global forums. Last week, Taiwan said that China had blocked it from attending a major United Nations aviation meeting. In July, Taiwan was barred from a UN Food and Agriculture Organization meeting, allegedly due to pressure from China.

Yu was not the first Taiwan politician to be banned from entering Hong Kong. In August, four Taiwan politicians were denied a visa. In January, Huang Kuo-chang, a parliament member and former leader of the anti-government Sunflower Movement, had been rejected entry to Hong Kong for the second time.

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Ellie Ng

Ellie Ng has written for Foreign Policy, the Daily Telegraph, Global Voices Online and others.