Joshua Wong, the leader of the Hong Kong democracy movement, was today barred by a Hong Kong court from travelling to London in December where he was due to make a speech at the Henry Jackson Society, the London-based international affairs think tank.
A judge at the High Court of Hong Kong handed down a decision earlier today that precluded the Secretary-General of Demosisto from leaving Hong Kong to visit the UK, and five other European countries, over fears he could “abscond”. According to Wong, “the judge thinks that the meetings are not necessary and I do not have to testify in person”.
Wong had been due to address the London-based think tank as well as the Oxford Union. He also anticipated meeting with British officials and politicians to push for greater support from the British government for the democracy movement in Hong Kong. Invitations to Wong’s London speech were due to be sent today and preparations for the event had been ongoing for several months.
The Henry Jackson Society has been supportive of the democracy movement in Hong Kong, despite criticism from Beijing. Last year, a Chinese Embassy spokesman told The Times that “the HJS could not be trusted to produce objective comments”.
In an email to the Henry Jackson Society, Joshua Wong said:
“I’m thankful for HJS’s support to the democratic cause of Hong Kong people and I hope you will continue to support us. The voice of HK people needs to be heard in the world. We shall find ways.”
Dr Alan Mendoza, the executive director of the Henry Jackson Society, commented:
“This ruling is extremely disturbing; unless the Hong Kong government accepts the exercise of free speech concerning the current crisis, no meaningful solution is possible. This judgment gives all the wrong signals and only makes matters worse”.
Demosisto, earlier, released the following statement:
#BREAKING | Court forbids Joshua Wong Europe Trip
High court banned Joshua Wong’s travel to six European countries and parliaments today, claiming Wong has a risk of absconding.
Joshua is disappointed with the refusal to lift the travel ban. ”By depriving me of the freedom of movement, the court has imposed an extra punishment before I was proven guilty.”
The court asserted that the invited parliamentary hearings and meetings are not necessary to be present in person. The judge also commented that as Hong Kong’s ‘circumstances changed’, Joshua would be advised to stay in town, instead of putting efforts abroad to help Hong Kong.
It is believed that the court is now under immense pressure following NPCSC’s criticism on court’s decision to rule the Anti-mask Law unconstitutional yesterday. Joshua refused to speculate on the ‘political decision’ of denying his travel application, but adding that ‘It is crystal clear that One Country, Two systems are on the brink of collapse now, concerted efforts are necessary to help HK. My endeavour to international advocacy will not stop.’