Access denied. Help denied.

There was a lot of media coverage of Mr Wong Fuk-wing, the Hong Kong hero who died in the Qinghai earthquake after he returned to the collapsed building of the orphanage where he worked as a volunteer, trying to rescue more children and teachers from the debris. Among the reports was the record of an incident, extracted from a blog written by a person who knew Mr Wong when he did voluntary work in Sichuan.

"When some people with ill intent came and rumours were spread, the government began to purge the volunteers. Wong as someone from Hong Kong was among the first to be persuaded to go, but he didn't want to, as he felt that he had unfinished business here, so he sneaked into a Taoist temple. There he helped the temple with its renovation work by laying brick after brick with the monks every day."

A foreign priest I know encountered the same fate sometime ago. After helping to provide education for orphans and street children and a sanctuary for the handicapped and outcasts through a relief work operation he set up for a number of years, China suddenly denied his access to the country by refusing to renew his visa. He has been unable to set foot on Chinese soil. Obviously, there were political reasons behind the move. It is a country where it doesn't matter what good work you have done or noble causes you have. When it comes to politics, there is no compromise.

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