[…] A growing number of people in Hong Kong who have taken part in the city’s recent pro-democracy protests are suddenly finding themselves denied entry into China.
The action has shocked many and sparked widespread belief that Chinese authorities have assembled a blacklist with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of names in recent months.
In a well-publicized incident last week, three leaders of the ongoing student protest were stopped while trying to fly to Beijing to confront Chinese leaders. Their case — staged in part as a form of protest — drew international headlines, but subsequent cases have been more surprising because they involve relative unknowns — not leaders — who merely participated in protests, among hundreds of thousands of others .
For some, the denials threaten their livelihoods because of how intertwined Hong Kong’s economy is with mainland China’s. They may also cast a chilling pall on freedom of expression here and have already fueled paranoia among protesters, fearful of future consequences from being on China’s watch lists.