Wong makes court re­turn on birth­day

Bangkok Post - - ASIA -

HONG KONG: Jailed Hong Kong ac­tivist Joshua Wong marked his 21st yes­ter­day in court fac­ing more charges over his role in pro-democ­racy protests as his par­ents say they are stand­ing by him.

Mr Wong and two other stu­dent lead­ers were jailed in Au­gust for six to eight months for their roles in the ini­tial protest that sparked the months-long Um­brella Move­ment demon­stra­tions and street block­ades in 2014, con­vic­tions rights groups have called po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated.

His fa­ther Roger Wong said he was sur­prised by the jail term and shocked by the re­ac­tion of Hong Kong’s le­gal com­mu­nity, with two pow­er­ful or­gan­i­sa­tions re­leas­ing state­ments de­fend­ing the ju­di­cial sys­tem and judges.

“The elites in law were con­grat­u­lat­ing each other. I find that dis­gust­ing,” he said.

“I thought the state­ments would come with com­pre­hen­sive le­gal anal­y­sis, but there was none of that … just brown-nos­ing,” he added.

Mr Wong se­nior, a re­tired IT pro­fes­sional, and his wife have been vis­it­ing their son in prison, and say he is putting on a brave face.

“If I was in his po­si­tion, in front of my par­ents, I would say pos­i­tive things too and not want them to worry,” the 53-year-old said at the fam­ily’s com­pact apart­ment filled with photos, books and bi­ble ref­er­ences.

“I think the big­gest pain for him is not be­ing able to go on the in­ter­net,” he said.

Un­like most mid­dle-class par­ents in ed­u­ca­tion-ob­sessed Hong Kong, the el­der Wong said he was open-minded about his son’s stud­ies and fu­ture path — they al­ways knew he was po­lit­i­cally minded.

When he was small, “he would have a bot­tle in his mouth but still con­tinue to speak.

“Of course, we didn’t know what he was say­ing … [but] he al­ways en­joyed ex­press­ing him­self.

“His aca­demic record would not be good enough for Ox­ford or Cam­bridge, but they have in­vited him over as a speaker — it’s just a dif­fer­ent role,” he said.

Roger Wong said he would sup­port his son if he ran for of­fice, which he is barred from do­ing for five years.

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