• Hong Kong activist ‘Grandma Wong’ says held 14 months in mainland China
• Ms Wong said she was initially detained by the authorities in Shenzhen for a total of 45 days
• She was also forced to confess in writing that her activism was wrong
A prominent Hong Kong protester has made her first public appearance in 14 months, telling the media she had been held in mainland China.
Grandma Wong returns to Hong Kong; claims to be held 14 months in mainland China
Alexandra Wong, 64, was nicknamed “Grandma Wong” and was often pictured waving a British flag at protests.
She said she was detained last August in the border city of Shenzhen and forced to renounce her activism in writing.
She was forced to renounce her activism in writing
Ms Wong said she was also sent on a “patriotic tour” of Shaanxi province.
While there, she had to sing the national anthem and was photographed waving the Chinese flag. She was then released on bail, she said, but was forbidden from returning to Hong Kong.
Last year’s anti-government protests began in June 2019 over plans to allow extradition to mainland China, but later morphed into a broader movement demanding full democracy. Hong Kong was a British colony until 1997, but was then returned to Chinese control under the principle of “one country, two systems”. While it is technically part of China, the territory has its own legal system and borders, and rights including freedom of assembly and free speech are protected.
“I was afraid I would die in that detention centre,” says Grandma Wong
Speaking at an emotional press conference in Hong Kong on Saturday, Ms Wong said she was initially detained by the authorities in Shenzhen for a total of 45 days, for “administrative detention” and “criminal detention”. However, she wasn’t told what charges she was facing. “I was afraid I would die in that detention centre,” she said.
At the end of the 45 days she was told to declare on camera that she hadn’t been tortured, she said, and that she wouldn’t protest or do interviews with the media.
She was also forced to confess in writing that her activism was wrong – something she described as “the worst thing I did in my life”.
After this she was sent to Shaanxi province, in north-east China, before being released on bail pending trial for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”