Democracy activist Joshua Wong says China rise means trade trumps rights

Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong. (File/Photo) Top News

Young Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong warned Wednesday that China’s rise means human rights are in increasingly greater danger of being overshadowed globally by business interests. He was responding to questions about his expectations for an upcoming Asian tour by President Donald Trump, who will visit China and four other countries.

The 21-year-old, who is Hong Kong’s most famous activist, is out on bail while he appeals a prison sentence related to his involvement in massive 2014 pro-democracy protests.

“Business interests override human rights,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press. “It unfortunately seems to be a common trend in the world” under a rising China.

During Trump’s Asian trip, he said there’s likely to be “a lot of uncertainty. No one can expect what will suddenly be published on his Twitter.” But he urged Trump to not let human rights lose out to commercial considerations, saying that U.S. business interests could also someday be directly affected by China’s rising clout.

As an example, he referred to the recent case of British human rights activist Benedict Rogers, who was barred from entering Hong Kong on what many suspect to be Beijing’s request, and said it might happen again.

“The day may come for U.S. politicians to be blocked from entering Hong Kong and when politicians or businessmen from the U.S. might not be possible to enter such an international financial center, how can they keep silent on the erosion of Hong Kong autonomy?” he said.

Wong urged the U.S. and other Western countries to pay closer attention to “how the China model threatens Asia-Pacific stability.”

The China model is a reference to economic development without corresponding democratic reforms.

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