Joshua Wong thanked his Thai democracy activist friends on Wednesday night who had “stayed at the airport overnight and negotiated with local officials.” They also helped him communicate with his party, Demosistō, in Hong Kong after he was denied entry to the country on China’s orders and held for 12 hours. He said that he and the party were indebted to their friends in Thailand.
Wong has arrived back in the city Wednesday following his ordeal at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. Wong was set to speak at an event at Chulalongkorn University commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Thammasat University massacre on October 6, 1976, when over a hundred pro-democracy students and bystanders were killed.
Students at Chulalongkorn University had staged a protest demanding their government release the detained activist.
Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, a student activist who had invited Wong to speak, raised umbrellas along with around a dozen others in support of Wong. The umbrella was one of the symbols of the 2014 pro-democracy movement, and Chotiphatphaisal said that umbrellas were chosen since Wong was one of the faces of the protests.
According to the Thai newspaper Prachatai, the students shouted “Joshua Wong has rights to be here” in front of the Faculty of Political Science. He also said that the event was held only for academic purposes and did not have a political agenda.
Orders from China?
The Thai newspaper The Nation reported that a deputy commander of the Suvarnabhumi Airport Immigration Office had confirmed that Thailand was asked by China to deny entry to Wong.
It also reported that the ruling junta and Foreign Ministry denied that they had issued the order.
Youth group The Network of Young Democratic Asians said that they believed the Thai government’s decision was a serious violation of human rights. “We strongly condemn the Chinese government’s oppression of the democratic movement in Hong Kong as well,” a statement released on Wednesday said.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-0-cha also told reporters in Thailand that Wong “just flew over and went back to China,” and that Thailand should not intervene because it was China’s business. “They are all Chinese, Hong Kongers and mainlanders,” he said.
The Thai Foreign Ministry said that there may be many reasons for a denial of entry and that it was the responsibility of the Immigration Bureau.