This file photo from April 22, 1989, shows students massed in Tiananmen Square to pay their respects to former Communist Party leader and liberal Hu Yaobang in an unauthorized rally to mourn his death. It triggered a wave of pro-democracy demonstrations before tanks rolled in on June 4. Photo: AFP

A Tiananmen Square protest leader was barred from entering Hong Kong on Sunday after traveling to the semi-autonomous Chinese city, according to the organizers of the event.

Other former student leaders of the 1989 protest movement have been barred from entering Hong Kong before, but a growing list of overseas activists and politicians have also been blocked in recent years.

Feng Congde, a former Peking University student now living in San Francisco, landed in Hong Kong ahead of the annual memorial honoring the victims of the bloody crackdown.

The 53-year-old was stopped by immigration officers and eventually put back on a plane, said Richard Tsoi, vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance, which organizes the vigil.

Feng said he had travel documents allowing him to enter Hong Kong legally, according to text messages sent to Tsoi and shared with AFP.

Hong Kong “obeys the Chinese Communist Party,” Feng wrote in the messages.

“At a time when Hong Kong people are worried about human rights and freedoms violations, [this incident] only makes them more averse to the government,” Tsoi told AFP.

The Immigration Department declined to comment on the case but said it makes each decision “in accordance with the laws of Hong Kong and prevailing immigration policies.”

Feng had travelled from Tokyo, where he attended other Tiananmen memorials.

Hong Kong remains the only territory on Chinese soil where crowds are allowed to gather in public to commemorate the tragedy.

– with reporting by AFP

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