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Earlier this year, classical Chinese performing arts company Shen Yun was forced to cancel its shows in Hong Kong, after the Immigration Department denied visas to six key production staff. A co-host of the show, the Epoch Times challenged the visa rejection by seeking a judicial review of the government's decision. Now, the Immigration Department is seeking immunity from having to reveal blacked out content of documents submitted as evidence.
The Hong Kong government is refusing to reveal information on visa rejection documents involved in the cancellation of a performing arts company's tour of Hong Kong earlier this year.
The New York based Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company was set to perform seven shows in Hong Kong in January. But three days before the company was set to depart, the Hong Kong Immigration Department rejected the visa application of six key production staff. The last-minute denial meant Shen Yun was forced to cancel its sell-out shows in Hong Kong.
In April, a co-host of the show, the Epoch Group, the local branch of The Epoch Times newspaper, applied for a judicial review of the Immigration Department's decision. It argued the decision was made illegally.
On Tuesday, a preparatory hearing for that application was held at the Hong Kong High Court. The Epoch Group says the Immigration Department crossed out parts of six visa rejection documents submitted as evidence, and wants the Court to grant it access to the full documents.
[Jian Hongzhang, Director of the Epoch Group]:
"The Immigration Department had been criticized by a judge before for not being frank to the court, so we have reason to believe the crossed out documents are hiding something, and want the department to openly explain the relevant facts."
The High Court will decide the Department's immunity application and the relevance of the content next Thursday (October 28).