China Blamed as Thailand Detains Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Activist

China Blamed as Thailand Detains Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Activist
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A political party in Taiwan has slammed China after Hong Kong’s pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong was detained in Bangkok.

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The detention of Hong Kong political activist Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) in Thailand today shows that China is pressuring other countries to suppress people who support democracy, a Taiwanese political party says.

Wong, who was scheduled to arrive in Bangkok around midnight local time, was “immediately detained” by Thai authorities, according to Hong Kong legislator and fellow Demosistō party member Nathan Law (羅冠聰).

“We have therefore been unable to contact him for over nine hours,” Law said this morning. “We are deeply worried about Wong’s personal safety and freedom, and we remain uncertain as to under what circumstances Wong has been detained.”

Wong’s colleagues have contacted Hong Kong immigration and security officials, as well as human rights organizations and lawyers in Thailand.

“According to what we have heard, Wong will possibly return to Hong Kong this afternoon, but this info has yet to be further confirmed,” Law said.

Wong, 19, and Law, 23, were leaders in the 2014 Umbrella Movement that protested Beijing’s growing influence in Hong Kong. They have since gone on to form their own political party, Demosistō, and Law was last month elected to the Hong Kong’s Legislative Council.

Related: Hong Kong's Joshua Wong Takes the Fight to Beijing

Wong, who was too young to stand for election in September but is Demosistō's secretary general, was traveling to Thailand to speak at Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University.

Thai student activist Netiwit Chotipatpaisal has told Demosistō that Thai authorities had been warned by Chinese authorities regarding Wong’s visit.

“According to Chotipatpaisal, the Thai authorities have received a letter from the Chinese government earlier regarding Wong’s visit,” Demosistō says. “His request to see Wong, who is still currently in custody, has also been declined.”

In a statement this morning, Taiwan’s New Power Party (NPP) said that Wong’s inability to enter Thailand shows that China has acted “to suppress people who seek democracy and freedom.”

“We strongly condemn Chinese authorities for abusing and suppressing human rights,” the NPP said. “We firmly urge Thai Government to release Joshua Wong immediately. Chinese authorities should not be pressuring other countries, and force others to violate human rights.”

Military leaders have held power in Thailand after a 2014 coup. They have since been criticized for stifling democracy and free speech.

First Editor: Olivia Yang
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole