SINGAPORE: British reporter denied entry at airport

Authorities do not allow British Epoch Times reporter into country to cover trial of Falungong activists

Straits Times
Thursday, September 28, 2006

By Khushwant Singh

A British journalist who flew in from London on Sunday was denied entry at Changi Airport and asked to leave.

Mr Jaya Gibson works for New York-based The Epoch Times, which is strongly supportive of the Falungong movement.

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority said that Mr Gibson was ineligible for a visit pass, but did not give any reason.

He left on Monday.

Mr Gibson was in Singapore last month to cover the trial of two Falungong followers who were charged with displaying insulting words on a banner opposite the Chinese Embassy in Tanglin Road on July 20.

When the trial was adjourned, Mr Gibson left for Geneva to attend a human rights conference, said Mr Sng Beng Kok, a photojournalist with The Epoch Times.

Mr Gibson had also been assisting the Falungong pair's lawyer, Mr M. Ravi, with administrative matters, Mr Sng told Agence France-Presse news agency.

The Epoch Times focuses on reporting alleged human rights abuses by China's Communist Party, especially its crackdown on Falungong, which Beijing outlawed as an "evil cult" in 1999.

The newspaper has been circulating here since 2004.

Mr Ravi has been hospitalised and the two Falungong practitioners on trial have till Monday to decide if they wish to hire a new lawyer.