(TibetanReview.net, Aug29, 2018) – Two members of a democracy party in Hong Kong were detained and subjected to hours of intimidating questioning during their separate visits to China in March and August this year, with the latter one having been asked whether he or she supported the Tibetan independence movement, reported the scmp.com Aug 27, citing the party’s secretary general and co-founder Joshua Wong Chi-fung. Wong has not named the two for the sake of their security and the security of their relatives on the mainland.
The leader of the Hong Kong localist party Demosisto has also said one of the members – the visitor in August – was offered money to become an informant and attached to a “lie detector” during questioning.
Amnesty International Hong Kong has described the incident as “a chilling attempt” by state security to silence the city’s activists and stop them from joining civil society organisations.
According to the Cantonese Service of rfa.org Aug 27, they were asked whether they had brought any books across the border, and whether they felt guilty about participating in the 2014 pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. They were also warned that to support self-determination for Hong Kong would amount to “incitement to subvert state power,” a charge commonly used to jail outspoken Chinese dissidents.
They were also asked to provide a list of all Demosisto members, and about their role in organizing protests linked to visits by high-ranking Chinese officials, including President Xi Jinping.
Appearing alongside Demosisto chairman Ivan Lam Long-yin, and former legislator Nathan Law Kwun-chung, Wong has revealed details of the two incidents, which he has said happened in Shenzhen on Mar 26 and in Guangzhou on Aug 17.
The scmp.com report said the two members did not appear at the press conference and Wong refused to reveal their names or any details about them. He has added that one had already quit the party and that the only motivation for the detentions was intimidation.
In the March incident, the member had visited the mainland for family reasons and was intercepted at a railway station in Shenzhen on the way back to Hong Kong. A dozen officers with badges, “issued by the Ministry of State Security”, were reported to have taken the Demosisto member to a Shenzhen police station, where he was questioned for three hours.
He was reported to have been asked about his role in the group and whether he and three other Demosisto members named by them knew each other. When, upon leaving, the member asked for a copy of the notes of his questioning, which he was made to fingerprint, he was told that it was not to be made public, that “there is no such thing [as a copy].”
In the August incident, a Demosisto member, who was on a work trip to the mainland with three colleagues, was taken from a railway station in Guangzhou. The member was hooked up to a lie detector and, over the course of next five hours, asked if it was wrong to be involved in the Occupy protests, or if the member supported the independence movement in Tibet.
And before leaving, the member was reported to have been asked to sign a “letter of repentance”, and offered money to provide information on others in the party.
Law has said the mainland Chinese action was “definitely [a form of] scare tactics,” that “they want to send a message to Demosisto and the civil society in Hong Kong,” saying, “You guys are not welcomed in China, and if you [come] you may be exposed to the same threat.”
Formed in 2016 by the leaders of the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong, Demosisto succeeded in getting Law elected to the Legislative Council election the same year. However, he was later ejected after the court ruled he had failed to take his oath in the prescribed manner.
In May, Demosisto ruled out running candidates in elections in the near future and changed it status from a political party to a group.