As news came through that Joshua Wong, the secretary general of Demosistō had been detained at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on his way to speak on democracy at Chulalongkorn University, his party deputy and colleague, Agnes Chow, spoke out: “There is no way to stop people thinking.”
“I believe that when there are more and more people who believe and agree with what we think, they cannot prevent people’s views about democracy even if they stop people from crossing the border like this,” said Chow. “I think this incident clearly shows that the Chinese government is trying to use all possible ways to silence the voice of democracy… to stop those from Hong Kong spreading [their ideas] to other countries and civil societies.”
Chow said that the more suppression there is, the more there would be resistance, and that there was a lot of attention from the media even though Wong was prevented from entering Thailand.
Wong is expected to be deported back to Hong Kong on Emirates flight EK384; his name is on the manifest, a source told HKFP.
Human Rights Watch stated on Twitter that “the Thai government should immediately release Joshua Wong, and allow him to exercise his rights of travel and speech.”
Maya Wang, China researcher at Human Rights Watch, said: “There has been a history, a recent history in which the Thai government seems to… to do the bidding of the Chinese government in terms of allowing it to reach out to snatch its dissidents and activists on this territory. I think Joshua Wong’s case may implicate that trend.”
Wang raised the example of the missing booksellers, in which one of them, Gui Minhai, went missing from Thailand, only to resurface in China, having been detained by police.
Laurent Meillan, the officer in charge of the South East Asian United Nations Human Rights Office, said that the move was “unnecessary”:
Another unnecessary move. Attending a peaceful and commemorative event is not a crime. We call for the immediate release of Mr. Joshua Wong https://t.co/lE5oZttruZ
— Laurent Meillan (@LaurentMeillan) October 5, 2016
The pro-democracy party the League of Social Democrats, along with People Power, Socialist Action, and the League in Defence of Hong Kong’s Freedoms, will also stage a demonstration this afternoon, marching to the Thai consulate from the Admiralty Centre.