‘Mamie Wong’ activist says he was held in China for 14 months

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'Mamie Wong' activist says he was held in China for 14 months







© KEYSTONE/AP/VINCENT YU


The activist “Mamie Wong” reappeared on Saturday, claiming to have been arrested and then held for 14 months in mainland China. The 60-year-old Hong Kong disappeared in the summer of 2019 when she used to participate in pro-democracy protests.

Alexandra Wong, 64, said she was forced to sign a statement pledging to renounce all activism. She also said she was sent on a “patriotic trip” to northern China.

Affectionately nicknamed “Mamie Wong” by pro-democracy protesters, the energetic 60-year-old stood out by coming to the demonstrations with a British flag whose size contrasted with his slender body. She was at almost all the gatherings from the first days of the mobilization in June 2019.

But she had disappeared at the end of August 2019, maintaining only a few sporadic contacts with the media of the former British colony. At a press conference in Hong Kong on Saturday, she said that after a protest in August 2019, she was arrested at the border, on her way back to Shenzhen, the mainland Chinese city where she has lived since. 14 years old.

“I was afraid of dying”

She explained that she was placed in “administrative detention” and then in “criminal detention” by the Shenzhen authorities for 45 days, without knowing the charges against her. “I was afraid of dying in the detention center,” she said.

When this period of detention was over, she said she was forced to state on camera that she had not been tortured. But also to promise that she would not give an interview or demonstrate.

She said she was also asked to renounce her political engagement in writing. “The worst thing I did in my life was write this confession. But I had no way of negotiating,” she said.

This confession did not allow her to regain freedom immediately since she was sent for five days on a “patriotic trip” to Shaanxi province. She was pictured there waving the Chinese flag and singing the national anthem.

Released on bail

She was then released on bail pending trial for “inciting public disorder”, a qualification often used against dissidents by the Chinese authorities. But she has not received any written documents detailing the charges.

For a year, she was only allowed to return to her home in Shanzhen, but not to go to Hong Kong. These restrictions were lifted at the end of September. “I don’t dare go back to Shenzhen anymore,” she told reporters.

Hong Kong is the target of a strong takeover of Beijing following the unprecedented mobilization of 2019.

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