Hong Kong reverses expulsion of WTO protestor (12/12/2005)


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The sneery tone of this Times piece is entirely predictable from this pro-GM Murdoch publication.

But it's interesting to contrast the US and Canada's robust treatment of Bove, which The Times approvingly reports

- "As a known troublemaker with a criminal record, he has been barred from visiting summits in the United States and Canada in the past" -

with how extraordinarily accommodating they have been to the GM-supporting director of the Food Safety Network (FSN) at the University of Guelph in Canada.

Despite two U.S. convictions for criminal negligence causing death, for which he was sentenced to 17 months in jail, the FSN's Dr Douglas Powell was given a travel waiver that allowed him to enter the United States to give lectures etc. despite his criminal convictions.

When last year Powell went on to be found guilty of domestic violence in Canada, the judge was persuaded to let Powell off with just a discharge. Discharges are normally only granted to first offenders so that they do not acquire a criminal record. Powell, by contrast, already had a criminal record as a result of the two prior convictions for serious criminal offences. But a criminal conviction for domestic violence would have almost certainly served to prevent Powell from crossing the border.

So while Dr Powell got off with a discharge for his abusive treatment of his girlfriend to allow him to continue to travel around the U.S., Jose Bove faces months in prison and a travel ban to N. America for pulling up GM plants.

Hong Kong reverses expulsion of WTO protester
From Charles Bremner in Paris
The Times, December 13, 2005

HONG KONG bowed to pressure from the French Government yesterday and lifted an expulsion order on Jose Bové, the French farmer and anti-globalisation activist, who arrived to observe this week’s World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks.

Christine Lagarde, the French Trade Minister, asked the authorities to let M Bové into the territory after he performed a characteristically showy stunt [WHICH WORKED!], going on to France Inter radio live from a detention centre at the Hong Kong airport.

M Bové, who made his name by demolishing a McDonald’s restaurant in southern France in 1999, telephoned the radio station in Paris because he knew that Pascal Lamy, the World Trade Organisation Secretary-General and French technocrat, was the guest of the breakfast phone-in programme.

"Upon my arrival in Hong Kong they seized my passport and took me to a detention centre," M Bové said.

"I have just been informed of my expulsion on the first flight for Paris, saying that I am persona non grata for the meeting of the WTO.

"The Hong Kong authorities are preventing any debate that runs contrary to the WTO."

M Lamy, who was also broadcasting from Hong Kong, told M Bové to avoid taking the return flight because he would try to have him admitted to Hong Kong, where he is accredited as an observer with the Via Campesina, a world peasants’ movement.

Mme Lagarde asked the French consul-general in Hong Kong to make contact with the local authorities while her staff sought a promise from M Bové that he would behave during the summit.

M Bové complied but added: "This doesn't mean we have to stay quiet."

With his protest antics and spells in prison, the campaigning sheep farmer has become a star of France’s radical "non- parliamentary" Left.

M Bové even enjoys some public backing as a possible candidate for the 2007 presidential election.

M Bové, 53, who casts himself as a martyr to capitalist oppression, is awaiting an appeal against a three-month prison sentence for destroying fields of experimental genetically modified crops.

As a known troublemaker with a criminal record, he has been barred from visiting summits in the United States and Canada in the past.

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