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Wong joins Hong Kong protest day after release on bail
by Staff Writers
Hong Kong (AFP) Oct 25, 2017

Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong was back out protesting Wednesday, a day after his release from prison on bail for his role in the 2014 Umbrella Movement.

Wong and fellow democracy campaigner Nathan Law were freed on bail Tuesday pending an appeal against their jail terms.

The 21-year-old was among 200 protesters who gathered outside Hong Kong's Legislative Council building on Wednesday evening to oppose a controversial rail link to mainland China which would see a portion of the city come under Chinese law.

The high-speed train connection with the sprawling southern Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou is due to open in 2018 but has triggered a backlash in the pro-democracy camp.

The proposal for a joint immigration point which would see mainland police and other officials stationed at the new rail terminus in the heart of Hong Kong comes as fears intensify that Beijing is tightening its grip on the semi-autonomous city.

The station is on Hong Kong's famous harbourfront, not on the border with the mainland, which lies further north.

"While I was in prison, the biggest lesson I learned through my reflections was the importance of freedom," Wong told the crowd.

"Are people willing to see, as soon as a Hong Konger enters the port area, they could have their passports confiscated and be kept in a detention cell for over 10 hours?" he said.

The government has said the piece of land is being leased to the mainland as a special port area to cut travel time and has denied it contravenes Hong Kong's mini-constitution, which guarantees rights unseen over the border, including freedom of speech.

Critics have questioned how residents will need to behave in the China-controlled areas and whether they will be punished for transgressing mainland law, even though they will still be in one of Hong Kong's busiest central commercial districts.

Resident Queenie Tang who attended the rally said she feared the arrangement put Hong Kong on a slippery slope.

"Perhaps in a few years they could apply mainland laws all over Hong Kong," she told AFP.

Pro-democracy legislators filibustered in parliament Wednesday to delay a motion that would pave the way for the rail link arrangements to be set up.

Wong earlier said on Twitter he had spent his first day on bail doing "what any normal Hong Konger would do: play video games".

Law told Apple Daily how his mother was cooking "many delicious things" for him.

The pair were jailed in August after the Beijing-backed Hong Kong government pushed for tough sentences, sparking fears that the rule of law is being compromised.

The case centred around their involvement in storming a fenced-off government forecourt calling for fully free leadership elections.

Their arrests at that demonstration sparked wider rallies which exploded two days later when police fired tear gas at the crowds.

Jailed Hong Kong pro-democracy activists released on bail
Hong Kong (AFP) Oct 24, 2017
Jailed Hong Kong democracy activists Joshua Wong and Nathan Law were released on bail Tuesday pending an appeal against sentences handed down for their role in the 2014 Umbrella Movement protests. A defiant Wong said the activists stood ready to face what he called "suppression by an authoritarian regime" as he stood alongside Law outside the Court of Final Appeal following the decision. ... read more

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