Joshua Wong, the face of Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution and Secretary General of Hong Kong’s Demosisto Party said that he is vexed that the Singapore police are investigating the conference organisers which invited him to speak.
Wong spoke at a conference titled ‘Civil Disobedience and Social Movements’ on 26 Nov. The conference was organised by Community Action Network (CAN!) – an affiliation of socio-political activists and cause journalists. Journalist Kirsten Han and political activist Seelan Palay were the other speakers at the conference.
According to one of the conference organisers, Mr Jolovan Wham, Wong would need a work permit even if he was addressing the audience using Skype. Writing in his Facebook Mr Wham said that a permit was not granted for Wong to speak at the conference but his co-organiser Rachel Zeng and him “went ahead anyway because it was a harmless and straightforward discussion about social movements.”
Wong said that his opinions and experiences about social movements can be easily accessed online. Adding that the Singapore government’s repression of opinions of civil society groups is not new.
He however asked under what regulation were the police asking for a permit for a Skype address of the Singaporean audience.
Wong described the investigation as lawless representation of an authoritarian government which is fearful of collaboration between East Asian social movements.
He further expressed concern for his Singaporean friends that they risked arrest and a trial. Wong promised that his Demosisto (his party) will persist in collaborating with international groups to fulfil its mission of pushing democracy in Hong Kong.
Mr Wham said that the police were very professional in questioning him and that they even shared a few light moments together.
“When it ended, he walked me out to the lift and thanked me for my cooperation. Finally I asked him “don’t you think it’s a waste of time investigating such cases? Aren’t there real criminals out there to catch?” He looked a little embarrassed and laughed a little nervously. Then he composed himself and said “the police takes every case seriously””
Mr Tan Tee Seng the director of The Opinion Collaborative which owns the venue (Agora) in which the event happened responded to Mr Wham’s post and said: “First in the first world to require a work permit and a license for talking over Skype. No wonder we will not produce any Facebook, Airbnb and Apple and the likes. Unless we free ourselves from this mind strangle, we will only be retarded society.”