Activist deported from Thailand at China’s request
HONG Kong democracy campaigner Joshua Wong was yesterday deported from junta-run Thailand, where he was due at events commemorating a massacre of student activists, as supporters blamed China for his detention.
The bespectacled Mr Wong, 19, famed for his galvanising role in the city’s 2014 pro-democracy “umbrella movement”, was held upon arrival at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport late October 4.
His political party – Demosisto – issued a statement confirming Mr Wong had been put on a flight back to Hong Kong.
Speculation swirled that Thailand’s military government was acting under pressure from regional superpower China – a key ally who has lavished investment and diplomatic support on a junta lacking international friends following its 2014 coup.
Thai student activist Netiwit Chotipatpaisal, who invited Mr Wong to Thailand, said police had told him of a “written letter from the Chinese government to the Thai government concerning this person”.
Mr Netiwit later led a few dozen students wielding umbrellas – in a nod to Mr Wong’s movement in Hong Kong – in a protest at a Bangkok campus, shouting, “Joshua Wong has the right to be here.”
Mr Wong has been a perennial thorn in Beijing’s side since emerging as an unlikely leader of protests against Chinese political domination of the city.
Last year Mr Wong was similarly barred from entering Malaysia, where officials sent him back to Hong Kong citing fears his talks would damage ties with Beijing.
This would not be the first time the Thai junta has appeared to act under pressure from China, said Thitinan
Pongsudhirak, a politics expert at Chulalongkorn University.
He cited Bangkok’s deportation of more than 100 Uighurs who had fled China in 2015, a move that drew widespread condemnation from rights groups who say the Muslim minority are heavily repressed by Beijing.
Mr Wong had been due to speak at an event in Bangkok today marking the 40th anniversary of a massacre of pro-democracy students by security forces and royalist militias.
The massacre of October 6, 1976, remains a deeply sensitive issue in Thailand’s recent history. –
Security officials and residents gather around ambulances carrying the bodies of Shiite Muslim women killed in an attack in Quetta on October 4.
Newly elected Hong Kong lawmaker Nathan Law (right) is stopped from entering the Thai consulate by police as he takes part in a protest with fellow Demosisto party members after his political ally Joshua Wong was stopped from entering Thailand yesterday.