The girlfriend of Hong Kong’s most famous pro-democracy teen activist joined the list of Hong Kong students barred from stepping into mainland China proper on Lunar New Year’s eve.
Student group Scholarism announced in a Facebook post that their member, Tiffany Chin Tze-man, was detained at Kunming Airport, Yunnan province on Wednesday night.
Armed police officers reportedly asked Chin if she had committed “any wrongdoings” in Hong Kong, and refused to let her leave the airport. Because Chin’s return flight will only take-off on Thursday afternoon, she was made to stay in Kunming Airport’s guestroom.
According to Scholarism, Chin’s movement was heavily restricted. For instance, police with batons would accompany Chin to the restroom, and she was made to seat away from windows because police didn’t want her escaping and stepping on Kunming soil.
Joshua Wong, the 18-year-old student leader who found international fame during the Umbrella Movement pro-democracy street occupations last year, expressed concern over the plight of Chin, his girlfriend, on his public Facebook page.
“I’m about to board a twelve-hour flight to the University of California, Los Angeles,” said Scholarism’s leader. Wong is scheduled to give a talk on the Umbrella Movement and its regional impact at UCLA this coming week.
“Meanwhile, my girlfriend will be held by armed cops on the mainland for at least twelve hours,” Wong continued. “And this happened in the first new year since we’ve been dating.”
“I’m sorry!” Wong finished.
In another Facebook post, Wong mused: “Are youths resisting the nation, or is the nation resisting youths? I’m very worried for [Chin].”
Wong’s girlfriend isn’t the first student activist to face travel woes. Key members of the Hong Kong Federation of Students were barred from entering mainland China during the height of the Occupy protests to petition Beijing. Chinese authorities have also supposedly blacklisted 500 students for partaking in pro-democracy activism.
Chin shot to prominence recently for telling off pro-establishment lawmaker Tam Yiu-chung during a public consultation for political reform in Hong Kong. After Tam cautioned Chin for using rude language in a speech, she shot back that her behavior is comparably “better than two-faced people like you who cosy up to the Chinese Communist Party.”
A video clip of Chin’s speech has received more than half a million views on Youtube.