Joshua Wong in US to seek support for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement


Washington D.C.: Joshua Wong, one of the most visible leaders of the Hong Kong protest movement, along with other protest leaders, has arrived in the United States to seek support for the city’s widening pro-democracy protests that have crippled parts of the Asian financial hub, including its airport, in recent months.

Wong, who is facing charges stemming from more than three months of pro-democracy protests, has been permitted to travel internationally while on bail. He will spend the next several days speaking to legislators, human rights advocates and students in New York and Washington, The Voice of America (VOA) News reported.

Wong’s audiences are mostly going to be college students. During his US tour, the activist is scheduled to address a session at the Columbia University in New York on Friday. He is also scheduled to visit Georgetown University in Washington next Wednesday.

Wong and other protest leaders will also testify at a hearing organised by the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), aimed at examining recent developments in Hong Kong and the future of US-Hong Kong relations.

In addition, Freedom House, an independent watchdog that monitors the status of freedom around the world, is hosting a special briefing featuring Wong and other “front-line activists” next Tuesday at the US Capitol Visitor Center.

Prior to this, Wong had visited Germany where he had signed a deal with the Sunday edition of Die Welt (The World) to contribute regular columns, providing a European outlet for their demands for greater autonomy for the territory under Chinese sovereign control.

Under an agreement with the former colonial power Britain, China has promised Hong Kong can maintain its free-market system and democratic freedoms until 2047. But hundreds of thousands of people have turned out for marches to protest what Hong Kongers see as steady encroachment on those freedoms by Beijing.

In Washington, Wong is expected to voice support for the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, a bill crafted by Senator Marco Rubio, which calls for a regular review of trade preferences granted to the semi-autonomous region in light of its special status.

At a recent diplomatic event in Washington, Randall Schriver, US assistant secretary of defence for Indo-Pacific security, told VOA that Washington maintains regular contact with the Hong Kong government through the U.S. consulate there, “and we also, of course, have conveyed our concerns in Beijing about the potential for a heavier hand or use of violence, which we strongly discourage.”

Schriver added, “We support freedom of expression in Hong Kong. We believe that’s a right that is guaranteed under the Basic Law, so we’re hopeful that this is resolved between the citizens of Hong Kong and the governing authorities there.” (ANI)