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THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) - May 24, 2019 - 12:00am

Former ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales gets an unexpected ally. Hong Kong legislator Ted Hui Chi-Fung assailed Morales' prevention to enter the Chinese special administrative region last Tuesday describing it as “barbaric” and “unreasonable.” Immigration officials flagged the 78-year-old former official as a “security threat”. Utterly ridiculous. Morales was with her children and grandchildren for a vacation. She was separated from her family, placed in a room where she spent close to four hours inside if I’m not mistaken. She was scheduled for deportation. When the authorities finally allowed her to enter calling it a mistake, they decided to just come back home lest they undergo further scrutiny along the trip. I also assume the humiliation and ordeal were enough.

According to Chi-Fung, “Looks like political reasons rather than security reasons were considered. Under the one country, two systems policy, the Hong Kong government has no legal basis to consider the court case that has nothing to do with Hong Kong.” Hong Kong has apparently a high degree of autonomy from mainland China, to supposedly preserve its established economic and social systems inherited from years of British rule. But Beijing seems to have been involved in this incident. Their immigration laws should not be affected by the case Morales and former DFA secretary del Rosario filed against Chinese President Xi Jinping at the ICC. “Even if the case was against China, the court should make a decision, not the immigration,” Chi-Fung added.

Seems Chi-Fung had a lot to say about the fiasco. Here we have a legislator who was not afraid to say his mind on the possible intervention or even meddling of Beijing. He even goes as far to demand that Beijing explain, as the incident may affect Hong Kong's reputation even more. At present, the Palace has taken a hands-off stand on the incident. They claim that they cannot intervene in Hong Kong’s immigration policy being a sovereign nation, and expect Hong Kong to understand the same if the situation arise here. They claim to have assisted Morales while she was detained. I wonder what assistance they gave.

If an administration official was the one detained for whatever reason, we might have heard something from the Palace. For now, calls for the government to ask China to explain the incident remain unheeded for obvious reasons. For those victim-blaming Morales for having to file a case against China and now wanting “to go to Disneyland,” Chi-Fung has made it very clear. The SAR has autonomy, with its own set of laws. Beijing’s exercising of control over their immigration is against their rule of law. We now know that any vocal critic of China may already be flagged in the immigration database, with “special instructions” should they try to enter Hong Kong.

CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES
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