Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Alexandra Wong, known as “Grandma Wong”, reappeared on Saturday after 14 months in which she claims to have been arrested and held in mainland China.
At 64, the protester said she was forced to sign a statement pledging to renounce all activism and that she had been sent on a “patriotic trip” to northern China.
Affectionately nicknamed “Grandmother Wong” by pro-democracy protesters, the activist attended the protests with a huge British flag. He was in almost all the demonstrations from the first days of the mobilization in June 2019.
Wong had disappeared in August 2019, maintaining only sporadic contacts with the media in the former British colony.
At a press conference in Hong Kong on Saturday, she said she had been arrested following a protest on her way back to Shenzhen, the mainland Chinese city where she has lived for 14 years.
She claims the Shenzhen authorities placed her in “administrative detention” and then in “criminal detention” for 45 days, without knowing what the charges were against her.
“I was afraid of dying in the detention center,” he said.
When her detention ended, she said that she was forced to testify before a camera that she had not been tortured and to promise that she would not give interviews or demonstrate.
He also claims that he was asked to renounce his political commitment in writing.
“The worst thing I ever did was write this confession. But I had no way of negotiating,” he said.
This confession did not immediately bring her freedom, as she was sent for five days on a “patriotic trip” to Shaanxi province, where she was photographed waving the Chinese flag and singing the national anthem.
She was then released on bail pending trial for “inciting public disturbances,” a qualification that Chinese authorities often use against dissidents. But he has not received any written documents detailing the charges against him.
For a year, he was only allowed to return home to Shenzhen, but not to Hong Kong. These restrictions were lifted at the end of September. “I don’t dare to go back to Shenzhen anymore,” he told reporters.
China wants to impose its authority in Hong Kong after the unprecedented mobilization of 2019.