Orange Squashed

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One wonders why pro-Tibetan activists who have been refused entry to Hong Kong in advance of the Olympic torch relay on May 2 have been so taken aback. “In this very moment (Saturday 26/4 10.15 pm) we are contained at the Hong Kong immigration office. We are refused entrance to Hong Kong for no apparent reason” read the flustered blog post of Danish artist and Color Orange founder Jens Galschiot, whose website asks “Can China ban the color orange?” (Answer: yes, it perfectly well can). Mr Galschiot ended up being put on a London-bound plane after six hours of questioning, and the Danish Consul General is seeking an official explanation as to why. But of course the reason is plain. The Hong Kong relay will be the first one run on Chinese soil after the torch’s farcical world tour. The pressure on the Hong Kong authorities to avoid embarrassing scenes is therefore immense, and that means that there will be no freedom-of-expression niceties here. Even if they make it past immigration, any protestor intending to unfurl a Tibetan flag along the relay route will be set upon by security officers—if not lynched by mobs in Go China t-shirts—quicker than you can say “resurgent nationalism.”
“We have traveled 20,000 km and spend [sic] 60,000 Hong Kong Dollars, not to mention hundreds of hours of work and preparation,” wrote Mr. Galschiot of his fruitless trip. Hundreds of hours? Presumably many were passed in the happy delusion that protests would somehow be handled differently in a onetime British colony, and not one of them was devoted to the contemplation of political reality.
(Postscript: What sort of reception would a group of mainland Chinese activists campaigning for the independence of the Faroe Islands meet with at Copenhagen airport during a time of heightened security? Just an idle thought.)