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US academic denied Hong Kong entry after Congress testimony

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An American academic on Saturday said he was denied entry into Hong Kong days after he testified in a Congressional hearing alongside prominent democracy activists from the strife-torn semi-autonomous Chinese city.

Dan Garrett said he was turned away after landing on Thursday for “unspecified immigration reasons” — something he said was a first in twenty years of traveling to and living in Hong Kong.

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The week before Garrett had appeared in Washington before the Congressional Executive Commission on China (CECC) alongside prominent Hong Kong activists, including outspoken Cantonese popstar Denise Ho and former student leader Joshua Wong.

The speakers, including Garrett, painted a picture of rapidly eroding freedoms in the international finance hub which has been battered by nearly four months of huge, sometimes violent pro-democracy protests.

The hearings — coupled with a proposed bill in Congress aimed at defending civil rights in Hong Kong — have sparked a furious response from Beijing which has accused Washington of being a “black hand” behind the protests.

Reached for comment on Saturday about why he might have been denied entry, Garrett, who has a PhD and has written a book on Hong Kong, said he was about to board a flight.

“But yes, I think it was related to the CECC testimony and some other things possibly,” he told AFP in a brief message without elaborating further.

Scott Flipse, a spokesman for the CECC, said Garrett’s passport had been “flagged, because he immediately attracted attention going through immigration.”

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“He was told he could come back in the future but not right now,” he added.

Hong Kong’s government refuses to comment on individual immigration cases or give reasons for an entry denial.

Under a deal signed with Britain ahead of its 1997 handover, China agreed to let Hong Kong keep unique freedoms that are denied to its citizens on the mainland for 50 years.

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But many in Hong Kong fear those liberties are being steadily eroded by Beijing, fueling years of growing protests including this summer’s historic rallies.

The city maintains significant academic freedom compared to the mainland.

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But Garrett grows a growing list of openly critical academics, researchers, politicians and activists who have been denied entry in recent years.

Last year Financial Times journalist Victor Mallet was denied a visa renewal without reason after he hosted a talk with the leader of a small and now banned independence party at the city’s press club.

He was denied entry on a subsequent visit weeks later.

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The year before, British human rights activist Benedict Rogers was denied entry.

Prominent survivors of the Tiananmen crackdown as well as Beijing critics from Taiwan used to have little trouble traveling to Hong Kong.

But in recent years they have been denied entry with increased frequency.

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Lev Parnas’s lawyer declared ‘open war’ on AG Bill Barr during Maddow interview: attorney

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The attorney for Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas appears to be using a novel legal strategy, attorney Luppe Luppen explained on Friday.

Joseph Bondy, the attorney for Parnas, was interviewed Friday evening by Rachel Maddow, following the day's end of the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

Luppen, who offers legal analysis on his popular @nycsouthpaw Twitter account, came to a conclusion that seemed to surprise him after watching the interview.

"I’ve never seen a lawyer sit on a cable panel show and make that much news," Luppen wrote.

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Democratic prosecutors wrap up case against Trump

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Democratic prosecutors on Friday wrapped up three days of arguments for seeking Donald Trump's removal from office, as the US president's lawyers prepared to take their turn presenting his defense in the Senate's historic impeachment trial.

For a final eight-hour stretch, the 100 senators listened as Democrats argued that Trump abused the power of the presidency in pressuring Ukraine to launch investigations that would help him politically and then sought to block efforts by Congress to investigate.

Democrats said they had met the burden of proof as they warned Republicans that Trump would remain a grave danger to the nation if left in office.

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‘Give me a break’: Internet unleashes on ‘snowflakes’ Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski for complaint about Schiff

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CNN's Manu Raju revealed after the Senate adjourned that Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) audibly disputed Rep. Adam Schiff's (D-CA) quotation of a CBS News report threatening senators.

"She shook her head and said, 'No they didn't. No, that's not true,'" Raju reported.

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https://twitter.com/GriffinConnolly/status/1220891285910892544

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