Joshua Wong is one of the most prominent faces of the 2014 Hong Kong Umbrella Movement—a mass protest lasting two-and-a-half months, where young people stood up for freedom in Hong Kong in the face of mainland Chinese encroachment. Needless to say, Joshua Wong—being a pro-democracy student leader and all—is not on the Chinese Communist Party’s list of Top 10 Faves. What a pain it is that Joshua Wong lives in Hong Kong. The most they could do to him there was getting him sentenced to 80 hours community service for getting people to care about their government.
This other thing other thing that happened to him last year? It had nothing to do with the Chinese regime…that’s provable. I mean, accidents will happen, right?
Like what happened to Kevin Lau in 2014.
I’m sure he just fell down the stairs…into a knife…multiple times.
So Joshua Wong is safe-ish in Hong Kong. At least safer than if he were in Mainland China. And while it is shocking to see the Chinese regime’s influence in Hong Kong, which is supposed to operate under the One Country, Two Systems policy, it’s only about as surprising, as when your grandmother gets you the same subscription to Zoobooks for your birthday she’s given you for the past 25 years.
But when Joshua Wong became an activist he probably didn’t anticipate just how far the Chinese regime could extend its reach. Like a Hungry, Hungry Hippo…of evil!
Last week, Joshua Wong was scheduled to speak at a university in Thailand for the 40th anniversary of a bloody government crackdown there on student demonstrators. What is it about student demonstrators and bloody government crackdowns that go together like peas and carrots? But instead of Joshua Wong giving his speech, Thai police detained him at the airport. They held him for twelve hours, then stuck him on a plane and sent him back to Hong Kong.
Regardless, this image has been blowing up on Thai social media.
It shows Thailand as as part of China. It’s really…well, it looks kind of nice, actually. I mean, you know, maybe we could try it and see how it works out. Because as the Wall Street Journal puts it, “This fits a global pattern.”
The Chinese regime gets in good with countries that don’t necessarily have the most sparkling human rights records. And that means, if you’re on the wrong side of the Chinese Communist Party, you might not be safe even outside of China.
It’s like a game of whack-a-mole. Where the moles are dissidents, and the Chinese regime has a giant mallet.
The democratically elected government of Thailand was overthrown by a military junta in 2014. That’s bad news for the many Chinese dissidents living there. In fact, things could have gone much worse for Joshua Wong. They merely sent him back to Hong Kong.
This Hong Konger living in Thailand got kidnapped and sent to mainland China…probably. Well, we don’t really know what happened. His Hong Kong bookstore sells books about Chinese politics. He disappeared late last year from his condo in Thailand. The next time anyone saw him was in early January making a confession on Chinese state-run TV. And he hasn’t been seen since.
And while that sounds pretty bad, it’s not as bad as what happened to the last 100 guys. And no one saw them again either.
So I guess Thailand and China are bros now. But hold on, Thailand. Malaysia deported a group of Chinese Uyghur asylum seekers way before you did. Oh, and they also deported Joshua Wong before you did. Thailand is such a Malaysia wannabe.
And in Nepal, Tibetans who’ve fled China are frequently harassed by police or deported. Sometimes you don’t even need to be Chinese. Armenia, Kenya, Cambodia, and Malaysia have all deported Taiwanese citizens to Mainland China, which adds yet another layer of wrongness to this whole thing. Unsurprisingly, all these countries rely on the Chinese regime for trade and investment.
So what does this mean? If you criticize the Chinese regime, you could be in trouble not just if you visit China, but if you visit, well, a number of other countries too. So keep your head down and your mouth shut.
But don’t worry, dissidents of all stripes are welcome here on China Uncensored. So Joshua Wong, if you’re watching, you’re welcome on this show any time. If you’re coming to New York, just maybe take a direct flight.
So how do you feel about China extending its reach beyond its borders? Leave your comments below… where they will be traced and stored as future incriminating evidence.