Ac­tivist de­ported from Thai­land at China’s re­quest

The Myanmar Times - - World -

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. –

Photo: AFP

Se­cu­rity of­fi­cials and res­i­dents gather around am­bu­lances car­ry­ing the bod­ies of Shi­ite Mus­lim women killed in an at­tack in Quetta on Oc­to­ber 4.

Photo: AFP

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.