Macau denies entry to Hong Kong journalism lecturer over ‘public security’ concerns

Macau has denied entry to a Hong Kong journalism lecturer who was travelling to the casino hub to host a news writing workshop on the grounds that she planned to take part in activities that might “jeopardise public security or public order”.

But the Macau Journalists Association accused local authorities of “abusing the law” based on “one-sided speculation” over their decision to deny the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Vivian Tam Wai-wan entry to the city.

Tam, who teaches at the institution’s journalism school, was barred from crossing the border at around 11.40am after reaching Macau’s Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal, the association said.

She returned to Hong Kong on a ferry that departed from Macau at 1.30pm.

The journalism group issued a statement expressing its “extreme regret and strong protest” over the decision.

The association also said it was “absurd” for local authorities to claim “there were strong references” that Tam intended to “participate in certain activities that might jeopardise public security or public order”.

“The authorities are abusing their power based on one-sided speculation with unbelievable law enforcement standards, seriously affecting normal professional exchange activities in the community,” it said.

“We demand the authorities explain the legal basis for this decision.”

The association noted Tam had managed to enter Macau last year with no issues.

The university lecturer originally planned to host a two-and-a-half hour interview and writing workshop on Saturday afternoon that shared how to responsibly interview vulnerable people, as well as a discussion on media ethics.

“Information about the workshop has already been made public on social media platforms and we believe that whether activities of this nature may actually endanger public security and order is a matter for society to decide,” the association said.

“In the name of ‘public security’, authorities are actually abusing the law, adding to Macau residents’ concerns that their basic freedoms and rights are being further weakened.”

Vivian Tam previously worked at Hong Kong media outlets Ming Pao and Cable News as a journalist before turning to academia. Photo: Facebook/Vivian Tam Wai-wan

Tam previously worked at Hong Kong media outlets Ming Pao and Cable News as a journalist before turning to academia. She also wrote a book on the 2019 social unrest.

She declined to comment further on her experience beyond the association’s statement.

The Public Security Police Force of Macau, which oversees immigration in the casino hub, refused to comment on individual cases, but maintained it “always strictly followed the laws and established procedures” when screening travellers.

Macau authorities have previously denied entry to members of Hong Kong’s opposition camp, including former district councillor Derek Chu Kong-wai, who said he was blocked from crossing the border in March of last year.

Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau authorities are currently co-hosting a week of week media activities to promote business opportunities in the Greater Bay Area, with a delegation due to arrive in the latter on Sunday morning.


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