A Macau pro-democracy party has criticised the Hong Kong government after two of its leaders were denied entry to the former British colony on Monday.

The Immigration Department’s move to block the New Macau Association activists comes as Chinese President Xi Jinping is scheduled to visit Hong Kong from Thursday to Saturday.

New Macau Association at a protest in Macau.

On Monday afternoon, chairperson Chiang Meng-hin was denied entry after taking a ferry to Hong Kong in order to seek treatment at a clinic. He was required to purchase his own ticket back to Macau.

Immigration officials said he was not eligible for entry according to the Immigration Ordinance.

See also: Macau pro-democracy activist refused entry into Hong Kong ahead of Handover anniversary

On Monday evening, the New Macau Association released a statement on Facebook criticising the Hong Kong government and demanding an explanation.

“The Association condemns the Hong Kong government for stopping Macau residents from legally entering the territory, and restricting their freedom of movement and entry. This is harmful to Macau-Hong Kong relations.”

“We believe the incident is related to oversensitive precautions in preparation for the visit of Beijing leaders to Hong Kong.”

An Immigration Department spokesperson declined to comment on Chiang’s case when contacted by HKFP.

Chiang Meng-hin. Photo: Chiang Meng-hin via Facebook.

Later at 9pm, Chiang Sing – a director of the same party – was traveling through Hong Kong to attend to personal affairs on the mainland. He told independent outlet Macau Concealers that he had never been refused entry by Hong Kong authorities, but was mentally prepared for it.

When he arrived by ferry at 10pm, he was also refused entry and required to return to Macau. He said that he – like Chiang Meng-hin – was questioned by immigration officials on the purpose of his visit.

“No matter what I answer, you won’t let me in anyway!” he told officials.

See also: More pro-democracy activists ejected from Macau, hours after successfully entering as tourists

Last month, a number of Hong Kong pro-democracy activists were either refused entry or ejected from Macau as China’s number three leader Zhang Dejiang toured the city.

Elson Tong

Elson Tong is a graduate of international relations and former investigations consultant. He has also written for Stand News.