Joshua Wong was a leader of the pro-democracy rallies that took place in 2014 in Hong Kong. His political party alerted the media that he was detained in Bangkok early on Wednesday. Thai authorities detained Wong at the international airport as he was trying to gain entry to Thailand. Later, authorities put him on a flight back to Hong Kong.
Joshua Wong Detained in Bangkok
The 19 year old activist has recently helped establish a political party in Hong Kong, Demosisto. Fellow members of the political party were concerned about Joshua Wong. They were unable to reach him so they reacted.
Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok invited Joshua Wong to Thailand to speak at their university. He arrived in the country on Tuesday evening on an Emirates airline flight. Several hours later, nobody knew where Joshua Wong was. After some time, A Thai student that had come to meet him at the airport found out that authorities had detained him.
The student’s name is Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal. He managed to find out form the Thai authorities that the Chinese government had sent a letter regarding Mr. Wong. Allegedly, the Chinese government asked that Thai authorities do not allow Wong into the country. China’s Foreign Ministry did not make any comments as the office was closed for a holiday.
Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal said that the move by Thai authorities stood in the way of the student’s education. He added that Wong was going to speak about the future of politics as well as his experience with Demosito. Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal concluded that there is no freedom of discussion afforded to students.
Hong Kong’s Immigration Department could not give many details about Joshua Wong’s reported detention. They said that “a Chinese national” was in fact detained at the airport in Bangkok. But that he was awaiting deportation back to Hong Kong.
Joshua Wong succeeded in boarding a flight to Hong Kong on Wednesday afternoon.
Political Activism in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a former British colony. It went back to Chinese control in 1997. But it retained its own legal system. Also, it has civil liberties that are not available in China.
In 2014 Hong Kong saw protests that were later called the Umbrella Revolution. Joshua Wong was one of the leaders of the protests. The people who were protesting were asking for more democratic elections. The protests were strongly supported by students who constituted a large proportion of the assembly. During the protests, thousands of demonstrators blocked major avenues in Hong Kong over a period of months.
Because of his political activism, Joshua Wong is sometimes in trouble with the authorities. He was going to Thailand to give a speech that would have had political implications. This Thursday marks 40 years since there was a crackdown on the student demonstrators in Bangkok. Mr. Wong was going to speak at an event at Chulalongkorn University, marking that anniversary.
It is not the first time that an Asian country denied Joshua Wong entry. Also, in May of last year, Malaysian authorities would not let him into the country because they did not want to jeopardize their ties with China.
Image source: here.