News & Politics

Hong Kong Freedom Fighter Arrested on His Way to CPAC Japan

In this Tuesday, July 26, 2016, file photo, Andy Chan Ho-tin of the Hong Kong National Party speaks to reporters in Hong Kong. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)

On Friday morning, Hong Kong police arrested 22-year-old freedom fighter Joshua Wong on the eve of the 5-year anniversary of the 2014 pro-democracy “Umbrella Revolution” Wong himself led as a teenager. Protests scheduled for Saturday, the anniversary, were officially banned and two other activists were also arrested. Hong Kong police arrested 28-year-old Hong Kong independence leader Andy Chan Ho-tin on his way to go speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Japan this weekend.

“It is outrageous that the puppets of Hong Kong would arrest [Andy Chan Ho-tin] as he was getting ready to board a plane to speak at [CPAC Japan. The clash between freedom and authoritarianism is getting worse every day. We stand with the people of Hong Kong who desire freedom,” CPAC Japan tweeted.

Matt Schlapp, chair of the American Conservative Union (ACU), the organization behind CPAC, noted that the New York Times report about the arrests left out any mention of CPAC Japan.

“This is shocking and appalling that the communists would be so threatened by someone speaking the truth,” Schlapp added.

Chan is a founding member and the conveyor of the Hong Kong National Party, the first party to advocate for Hong Kong independence. In 2016, his candidacy for the Legislative Council was disqualified due to his support for Hong Kong’s independence from communist China.

Hong Kong Police arrested Wong and 22-year-old Agnes Chow, charging them with inciting and participating in illegal protests. Wong and Chow are founding members of the pro-Democracy group Demosisto. They were later released on bail.

“Hong Kong should not be a full-fledged authoritarian police state!” Wong tweeted.

Wong claimed that he and Chow had been “framed” as leaders in the current 13-week spree of protests against an extradition bill that protesters claim would leave Hong Kong citizens at the mercy of China.

“The 12-week long protests is prestiged as leaderless yet We once again reiterate that Demosisto has never taken up any leading role during the movement. White terror is a lame and old-fashioned tactic deployed by the police,” he tweeted. “It is completely ridiculous that the police target specific prominent figures of social movement in the past and framing them as the leaders of the anti-extradition bill protests.”

Wong also thanked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for urging world leaders to “pay attention to the ongoing crackdown and recent arrests of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong.” McConnell added, “It should not be business and usual until Beijing respects Hong Kong’s autonomy and political freedoms.”

China’s central government appears to be firmly in control of Hong Kong’s administration, Reuters reported. The arrests and outlawing of protests the day before the 5-year anniversary of the “Umbrella Revolution” are chilling. Many fear the current protests could become a new Tiananmen Square Massacre, where the Chinese Communist government infamously rolled over peaceful protesters with tanks.

Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.