- Upon leaving the police station, Wong urged the government to “stop political persecution.”
- Twelve pro-democracy activists, including university student Tsz Lun Kok, with dual Chinese and Portuguese nationality, were arrested on August 23.
- Wong is one of the most popular activists in Hong Kong fighting for democracy.
Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong, who was detained Thursday and released hours later, has called for intervention by the international community in the case of the group arrested in China more than a month ago. Wong was arrested when he appeared at the Central Police Station for judicial control.
Addressing the media, he asked the international community, instead of focusing only on prominent activists like himself, to equally pay attention to the twelve detainees in Shenzhen, in a “secret detention” that completely violates human rights.
Wong appeared Thursday at the Central Police Station for judicial control, under another procedure, on suspicion of having participated in an unauthorized demonstration on October 5, last year. He was also accused of violating a controversial anti-mask law, later considered unconstitutional.
Upon leaving the police station, Wong urged the government to “stop political persecution,” saying that this is the third case he has faced since June when the national security law, imposed by Beijing on the territory, came into force. “But no matter what happens, I will still continue to resist,” Wong vowed at a news conference.
The twelve pro-democracy activists, including university student Tsz Lun Kok, with dual Chinese and Portuguese nationality, were arrested on August 23 by the Chinese coast guard on suspicion of “illegal crossing” as they were sailing by boat to Taiwan, where it is thought that they were seeking political asylum.
According to detainees’ relatives, since the detention, none of the activists has been able to contact their families or have access to lawyers appointed by their relatives, with China appointing, in some cases, unofficial lawyers.
Joshua Wong’s lawyer today confirmed to AFP the detention of the prominent activist on suspicion “of having participated in an illegal meeting on October 5, when hundreds and hundreds of people demonstrated to protest the ban on the use of mask decided by the Government.”
The authorities invoked provisions of a 1922 law, which had not been used since 1967, to prohibit the use of masks during the 2019 protests, on the grounds that their use would facilitate violent behavior.
At the age of 23, Wong is one of the most popular activists in Hong Kong fighting for democracy. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017, and was imprisoned in 2018, but was later released.
On July 30, the activist was barred from participating in parliamentary elections, which were scheduled for September, but were postponed for a year, allegedly for fears linked to the coronavirus pandemic.
National Security Law
The controversial Hong Kong national security law, enacted on June 30 by Chinese President Xi Jinping, allows for the authorities to punish four types of crimes against state security: subversive activities, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces that endanger national security in Hong Kong.
The international community, including the United States and the European Union, as well as several non-governmental organizations (NGOs), have since expressed their fears that the law will serve to silence critical voices in Hong Kong, after a year of protests that led to nine thousand arrests in the former British colony.