Wu'er Kaixi, a wanted student activist from the 1989 Tiananmen democracy protests, turned himself into to the Hong Kong government during a layover there while travelling from Taiwan to Bangkok. He asked to be extradited to mainland China as a fugitive.
He has made several attempts to return to China since 2009 as part of the Tiananmen exiles’ campaign to return home launched by Reverend Chu Yiu Ming in 2007. The “Home Coming” campaign is to support exiled democracy activists to go home and reunite with their families.
In 2009, Wu'er Kaixi was denied entry to Macau; in 2010 he was arrested for attempting to enter the Chinese embassy in Tokyo, and in 2012 he was ignored by the Chinese embassy when he surrendered himself in Washington D.C.
Like his earlier attempts, Wu'er Kaxi failed again this time. The Hong Kong government has also denied his entry, and expelled him back to Taiwan shortly upon his arrival.
At around 1 p.m., Wu’ er Kaixi wrote on his Twitter:
— 吾尔开希 (@wuerkaixi) November 25, 2013
I am at the Hong Kong International Airport. I have turned myself in to the local authorities and told them that I am a fugitive wanted by the Chinese government and want to surrender. Now I am at the immigration control area. I have a full statement here: wuerkaixi.com
This time Wu'er Kaixi was accompanied by Albert Ho, a Hong Kong Democracy Party lawmaker and the head Hong Kong Alliance In Support Of Patriotic Democratic Movements Of China.
@wenyunchao, a mainland Chinese political activist now based in the U.S posted Wu'er Kaxi and Albert Ho's picture taken at the Taipei airport before they departed to Hong Kong with a tag #Homecoming:
— 北风（温云超, Yunchao Wen） (@wenyunchao) November 25, 2013
Wu'er explained why he wanted to surrender himself in his blog statement:
Since 1989, I have been in exile for 24 years, and have not been able to see my parents and other family members. My parents are old and in ill health. The Chinese government refuses to issue passports for them to travel aboard and visit me. My parents have been told clearly that the reason they will not be issued passports is that their son is a dissident. I would like to ask the Chinese government, is this behavior in keeping with the international treaties it has signed; is it true to the spirit of Chinese traditional values; is it in accordance with PRC law?
I believe the answer to those questions is, no, and that is why I feel I have no alternative but to turn myself in. I miss my parents and my family, and I hope to be able to be reunited with them while they are still alive, even if the reunion would have to take place behind a glass wall.
He also explained the reason for choosing Hong Kong as an entry spot:
Since 2009, I have made similar attempts in Macau, Japan, and the United States to either enter China or Chinese embassies to face the Chinese government’s charges directly, but I have been denied every time. What I’m doing today is a result of the Chinese government’s absurd act of ordering my arrest, while at the same time refusing to allow me to return.
Assuming the Hong Kong government accepts the Chinese official position, which sees my participation in the 1989 student movement as part of a “conspiracy to subvert the government,” making me guilty of “counter revolutionary incitement,” the Hong Kong government should accept my request and help Chinese government to apprehend me. I understand that the transit area of Hong Kong International Airport is an international zone, but it is also an area within the Hong Kong government’s jurisdiction, and the Hong Kong authorities should at least consider my request to turn myself in.
If the Hong Kong government denies my request, and will neither arrest me nor help the Chinese government to apprehend me, I take this to mean that the Hong Kong government does not accept the People’s Republic of China’s official verdict on the Tiananmen student movement. If that is so, I appreciate it, and I then request the Hong Kong government stop denying Chinese dissidents the right to enter Hong Kong, giving me an opportunity to turn myself in to the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong.
Actually, the Hong Kong government does not need to explain its political stand on the 1989 student movement as it has never signed any criminal extradition agreement [zh, pdf] with the mainland Chinese government. However, Hong Kong immigration authorities have denied entry to a number of well-known Chinese dissidents since its handover to China. This time, the Hong Kong government also denied Wu'er Kaxi's entry and he left the Hong Kong airport and returned to Taiwan at around 4 p.m.
Though Wu'er Kaxi's trip to Hong Kong was short, there were quite a number of discussions and comments about the incident in Hong Kong. Francis Chan expressed his warm welcome at the comment thread of the Housenews’ report:
He married to a Taiwanese and has Taiwan passport and should be allowed in as a Taiwanese. He is most welcome. Let him in and let him share his experience with our young. If he kept his mouth shut and laid low in in May-June 1989, he could have been a rich princeling. His dad used to be an important Uighur cadre in Xinjiang.
However, only a few people in Hong Kong appreciated Wu'er Kaxi surrender act. Many instead expressed their disappointment with the dissidents. For example Kelvin Kwok Fung Tang reposted his comments on several public news threads in Facebook:
Everyone knows that the [Chinese Communist Party] is cold-blooded. But does Wu'er Kaxi really want to change China? Did the mainland Chinese dissidents rescued by the Hong Kong people unite to change China? No. Many of them has just received their university degrees overseas, got married, divorced and made lots of money. Now that their parents are old, they felt regret. They have failed our expectation and their own ideas. […] Here I ask Wu'er Kaxi, in the past 20 years, what has he done in Taiwan and the US for the development of democracy in China?.