'Grandma Wong' Arrested At Solo Hong Kong Protest

Long-time activist showed up to canceled Tiananmen march
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted May 31, 2021 3:00 PM CDT
Hong Kong’s ‘Grandma Wong’ Arrested for Solo Protest
A man walks past a backdrop of a Goddess of Democracy statue at the Tiananmen Square at the "June 4 Memorial Museum" run by pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong on Sunday, May 30, 2021.   (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

A 65-year-old pro-democracy activist, the only one to show up to a canceled demonstration in Hong Kong, has been arrested. Alexandra Wong, widely known as Grandma Wong, would have been at a march Sunday ahead of the 32nd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown if authorities hadn’t used the pandemic as a pretext to cancel it, the Guardian reports. Instead, she showed up with a sign and a yellow umbrella and started walking toward the Chinese central government's liaison office on her own. Yellow umbrellas are a symbol of the wave of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong in 2014.

Grandma Wong is an ever-present fixture at protests and was often seen waving a British Union Jack flag during a summer of demonstrations in 2019. After those protests she disappeared for a year and upon her return said she’d been detained by authorities in mainland China. Her arrest Sunday was on charges of taking part in an unauthorized assembly—of one, apparently—the Hong Kong Free Press reports. The main commemoration of the June 4, 1989 crackdown, a candlelit vigil in Victoria Park, has also been banned for the second year in a row. Organizers have urged Hong Kongers to instead light a candle wherever they are. (Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong was sentenced to 10 months for taking part in an unauthorized vigil last year.)

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