The original Lennon Wall in Hong Kong, 21 October 2014 (image by Underbar dk via Wikimedia Commons)

A Chinese tourist will be deported from Taiwan and banned from traveling to the country for 5 years after he and his wife damaged a so-called “Lennon Wall” set up by students of National Taiwan University (NTU) to show their support for Hong Kong’s democracy movement.

The mainland Chinese tourist, named Li Shaodong (李紹東), was visiting Taiwan on an individual travel permit.

According to reports, the Chinese couple travelled to Taiwan on October 1 and first stayed in the southern and central part of the island before going to the capital Taipei.

On October 7 at around 10:45 a.m. a student of NTU saw Li Shaodong remove posters in support of Hong Kong’s protests. The student filmed him and then reported him to the university authorities, who called the police.

Li was detained on charges of property damage. He confessed to the crime, stating that he was upset when he saw posters supporting Hong Kong’s protests.

Immigration authorities reportedly found that Li’s actions violated the “Guidelines for issuing permits for people from the Mainland area to come to Taiwan to engage in tourism activities”, a special law that regulates travel to Taiwan from mainland China.

Li’s travel permit has been cancelled and he will be deported back to China. He will henceforth be regarded as a “persona non grata” (不受歡迎人物) and will be banned from travelling to Taiwan for 5 years.

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) views Taiwan as part of its territory and has vowed to annex it, if necessary by force. The governments in Beijing and Taipei do not have diplomatic relations. Travel between the two sides is restricted and regulated unofficially.

The term “Lennon Wall” originates from the anti-Communist struggle in Czechoslovakia in the 1980s. During the 2014 Umbrella Revolution Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters and their supporters began to stick Post-It notes on a wall of the Hong Kong government’s headquarters in Central, which soon became known as a “Lennon Wall”.

Hong Kong has been engulfed by protests and violent clashes since June, when demonstrators took to the streets to voice their opposition to a controversial extradition bill that would have allowed the Hong Kong government to hand over to the Chinese Communist authorities individuals accused of crimes by Beijing.

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