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Friday, 19 April, 2002, 06:24 GMT 07:24 UK
Indian author says HK is racist
Chek Lap Kok airport
Chaudhuri was held for an hour-and-a-half
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By Damian Grammaticas
BBC Hong Kong correspondent
A prominent Indian author has accused Hong Kong's authorities of racism after he was detained by immigration officials while visiting the territory.

Amit Chaudhuri
Amit Chaudhuri is taking part in a literary festival
Amit Chaudhuri is in Hong Kong to take part in a literary festival.

Chaudhuri told the BBC that India's diplomatic representatives in Hong Kong have told him they will be taking up the issue with Hong Kong's Government as they are concerned about the problem of the racial profiling of South Asians.

The author's detention comes just two days after veteran US-based human rights activist Harry Wu was also detained by Hong Kong immigration before being deported back to the United States.

Respected author

Amit Chaudhuri is one of a number of Indian writers who have achieved international prominence.

His novels, including Freedom Song and A New World have helped him to win a Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Southern Arts Literature Prize.

He also writes for magazines such as the New Yorker.

Chaudhuri told the BBC that when he arrived in Hong Kong earlier this week to speak at the territory's literary festival, he was detained by immigration officers, despite the fact that he did not require a visa to enter the territory.

He said he produced a letter of invitation to the festival, but the officers kept him in a room for an a hour-and-a-half questioning him.

He was given no reason for his detention.

'Upset and angry'

He described himself as upset and angry at his treatment, saying he had never experienced anything like it anywhere else.

Harry Wu
Activist Harry Wu was deported earlier this week

He added the racial element in his treatment was crude.

Ninety-nine percent of the people being held with him were also South Asians: from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Organisers of the festival said many South Asians entering Hong Kong face similar treatment.

Not the first time

Chaudhuri said India's high commissioner to the territory had told him that objections to the writer's detention would be raised with the government.

He said he was told that concerns about racial profiling of South Asians had been expressed before, particularly when a few months ago the popular Indian singer, Shubha Mudgal, faced similar problems.

Hong Kong's immigration department will not discuss individual cases.

A spokesperson denied racial discrimination but said travellers about whom they have doubts are held while their reasons for visiting Hong Kong are examined.

See also:

15 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
Hong Kong turns away China activist
17 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
Hong Kong overhauls government
12 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
HK leader says freedom is safe
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