Hong Kong—The application of pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong to have his travel ban lifted in order for him to fly to London to receive a human rights award from both houses of Parliament of the United Kingdom has been denied.
The judge noted Mr Wong’s risk of absconding and saying that he can remain in the city to help restore it to peace.
The refusal to lift Mr Wong’s ban comes even as protests in Hong Kong have escalated of late, with a stand-off this week between the police and protestors at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, many of whom are students.
Madam Justice Esther Toh Lye-ping of the High Court denied Mr Wong’s application to change his bail conditions and lift the ban on travel on November 19, Tuesday.
According to a report from the South China Morning Post (SCMP), Mr Wong faces one charge of inciting anti-government protesters to besiege the police headquarters.
Due to his “commitments to universal suffrage, human rights and free speech,” the pro-democracy activist is the recipient of the Westminster Award for Human Life, Human Rights, and Human Dignity by both houses of parliament in Britain.
He is the second individual from China to receive this distinction, as it was awarded in 2013 to blind activist Chen Guangcheng.
Mr Wong took to Twitter to express his disappointment over the denial of his application to have his travel ban lifted, writing.
1/ I'm disappointed with the High Court decided not to grant the authorization for my travel to Europe, where a series of institutional appointments planned. By depriving me the freedom of movement, the court has imposed an extra punishment before I was convicted guilty.
— Joshua Wong 黃之鋒 😷 (@joshuawongcf) November 20, 2019
He went on to say, “The Court thought parliamentary hearings and meetings are unnecessary to be present in person. I think it is ridiculous. It thinks I have a risk of absconding, I think the allegation is groundless. HK is my home and I’m not giving up HK despite the hardship and difficulty.
Ironically. the Magistrate (same judge) allowed my travel to Taiwan, Germany and the US in September. But she refused to grant travel two months later, citing the testimony and hearings in France, Brussels, Berlin, London and Paris are not important. (!?)
Following the court decision, it’s clear now I’m deprived of the right to the election, freedom of movement, freedom of assembly (not allowed to appear on designated are), and freedom of speech. The civil liberties guaranteed in the constitution are however no longer applicable to me.”
Mr Wong’s travel ban was issued on August 30, after the activist was charged with organising, taking part in, and inciting others to take part in an unlawful assembly outside the Wan Chai police headquarters on June 21.
He was, however, as his tweets point out, allowed by Justice Toh to travel in September.
Earlier this month, Mr Wong’s application for his travel ban to be lifted was also denied by the lower court, for the reason that the activist’s travel was “not very important”.
Mr Wong is due back in court on December 19th, along with Agnes Chow Ting and Ivan Lam Long-yin. All three are members of the localist party Demosisto, with Mr Wong as the secretary-general and Mr Lam as the chairman. -/TISG