TAIPEI -Wu'er Kaixi, one of the best known dissidents from the Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing 20 years ago, tried to reach China via Macau Wednesday but was refused entry, Taiwan authorities said.

Wu'er Kaixi, 41, who now lives in Taiwan, said the airport immigration counter in Macau stopped him from entering the special administrative region of China.

He said he had planned to apply for a visa in Macau to enter the Chinese mainland and visit his parents.

The Taiwan government's China policy-making body said Macau authorities put Wu'er Kaixi on a return flight to Taiwan on Wednesday evening, but later said he had still not left.

He is now resting at the immigration office, said Corinna Wei, of the Taiwan body, adding the earliest he could return would be Thursday morning.

Wu'er Kaixi earlier told Reuters Television that he would refuse to cooperate if forced to leave.

In 2004 he visited Hong Kong, another administrative region of China, but again did not enter the Chinese mainland, according to media reports.

Twenty years ago, as university student in Beijing, he made a name for himself as a hunger striker and criticized a senior Chinese official on television.

He escaped to France in the aftermath of the bloody Tiananmen crackdown before settling in Taiwan, where he remains an outspoken critic of the Chinese government.

In a letter to supporters written ahead of his latest attempt to return, he justified the visit because China will not let me return and my parents are prohibited from traveling abroad. I have not seen them in 20 years.

(Reporting by Ralph Jennings; Editing by David Fox)