In his most recent cartoon for CDT, Badiucao honors Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong, who was recently detained by Thai authorities at the Bangkok airport on his way to talk to college students in the city.
Wong, age 19, was a leading voice in the 2014 Umbrella Movement protests, which called for free elections to select Hong Kong’s chief executive and other democratic reforms. Wong and several fellow protest leaders were found guilty of “illegal assembly” by a Hong Kong court, but were sentenced to perform community service rather than serve time in jail. Wong recently told writer Jason Y. Ng that he planned to take a break from political activism to study abroad. In recent months, he has traveled around the world to speak at universities, but was prevented from doing so in Bangkok after authorities detained him at Suvarnabhumi Airport, apparently after receiving a notice from Beijing. Edward Wong reports for The New York Times:
The party, Demosisto, which Mr. Wong had recently helped to establish, said Mr. Wong had arrived in Thailand at 11:45 p.m. on Tuesday on an Emirates flight. He had been invited to speak at Chulalongkorn University.
The party said it had been unable to get any word of Mr. Wong until 4:18 a.m. Hong Kong time, when a Thai student activist who was expecting to meet with him notified the party that Mr. Wong had been detained at the international airport. The party said the student told them that the authorities had received a letter from the Chinese government regarding Mr. Wong’s trip. He added that he had been unable to get in touch directly with Mr. Wong. [Source]
Netiwit Chotipatpaisal, a Thai student activist who had invited Wong to Chulalongkorn University, told Elizabeth Cheung of the South China Morning Post that he had not been allowed to visit Wong in detention:
He then inquired at the Emirates counter and was told that Wong had been detained. He went to the police station to find out why and to try and speak to the activist, but was rejected.
“The police said I don’t have any authority [to meet Wong]. They said China sent a letter to the Thai government to stop him [coming] to Thailand.”
While the activist was originally scheduled to address the students on Thursday, Chotipatpaisal said he had been looking for alternative means to pass on Wong’s message, such as asking him to give a speech via Skype if he had been released back to Hong Kong.
Fellow Demosisto members might speak on his behalf via video call if Wong was still being held. [Source]
Wong was expected to be deported back to Hong Kong on Wednesday.
Human rights advocates have expressed concern over the Thai government’s apparent willingness to assist Chinese authorities in carrying out detentions. A year ago, Hong Kong publisher Gui Minhai disappeared while vacationing in Thailand, and later appeared in detention in China, where he remains. In January, journalist Li Xin disappeared while traveling in Thailand in a bid to request political asylum in the U.S.