To: Mr Ho Hau-wah
Chief Executive of Macau
cc: Mr. Cheong Kuoc Va
of Government Information Bureau
February 27, 2009
RE: Concerns about entry
requirements and Macau security laws
Dear Mr Ho
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), as the global organisation
representing more than 600,000 journalists around the world, wishes to draw
your attention to concerns about several matters relating to press freedom in Macau.
Felix Wong Chi-keung, a photographer with the South China Morning Post, has informed the IFJ that Macau security
officers barred him from entering Macau twice
in February, claiming he was in breach of the Internal Security Law of Macau.
February 18, Wong went to Macau to report on a
court case involving Ao Man-long. Wong carried an accredited press card. On
February 25, Wong was again refused entry to report on Ao’s case and the final
vote on the government-revised National Security Law, Article 23, Basic Laws of
Macau, which passed yesterday.
had no problem visiting the mainland, despite being briefly detained by Beijing police around the
time of the Olympic Games. He was also permitted to enter Macau
on January 11.
to the Immigration Ordinance of Macau, Hong Kong people need only produce their
identity card when they enter Macau. Under Macau’s Internal Security Law, entry can be refused only
if a person is suspected of being a threat to internal security or involvement
in organized crime, cross-border crime, violent crime or terrorism.
believes there is no valid reason for Wong to be prevented from visiting Macau in order to conduct his work.
the Secretary for Economy and Finance of Macau, Francis Tam Pak-yuen, said in
Hong Kong on February 19 said that Macau welcomed people from outside Macau to visit for tourism or work. However, Tam was
unable to explain to the IFJ why Wong was refused entry.
understand that Hong Kong’s Chief Secretary, Henry Tang Ying-yen, contacted Macau authorities on February on 19 to express his
concerns about this matter. He is joined in his concerns by Hong Kong and Macau journalists’ associations and the IFJ.
the IFJ wishes to express its concerns about National Security Law, Article 23,
Basic Laws of Macau, which refers to state-security crimes including treason,
secession, sedition, the theft of state secrets and subversion against the
Government of China. The definition of some of these crimes is ambiguous and we
fear this law could be used to restrict freedom of expression. In addition, the
heavy penalties applying to these vaguely defined crimes may serve to inhibit
the activities of independent and critical journalists and free expression
advocates, or be applied against media personnel in an unjust manner.
respectfully urges the Authority of Macau to honour its promise to uphold press
freedom, and to make a public statement that it will not use Article 23 to
intimidate or prevent journalists from conducting their work in the public
interest. We also call on Macau authorities to direct immigration personnel not
to block the entry of journalists seeking to enter the territory of Macau
in order to conduct their profession.
Director, IFJ Asia-Pacific
+612 9333 0919