Hongkonger activist dismayed at Cuixart imprisonment for ‘advocating an idea’
Jason Y. Ng is in Catalonia to give a conference on non-violent protest and visited the jailed Òmnium Cultural president
Hongkonger writer, lawyer, and activist Jason Y. Ng has expressed his disappointment that “someone has to pay the price of personal freedom, imprisonment, for merely advocating an idea” after visiting the president of Òmnium Cultural, Jordi Cuixart, in Lledoners prison today.
Y. Ng is in Catalonia on invitation from Cuixart’s pro-independence civic group, and will be holding a conference on non-violent civil protest in Barcelona on Thursday evening. Cuixart was imprisoned in October for sedition for his role in the Catalan independence push in 2017.
Òmnium also arranged a prison visit to Lledoners in order for him to meet with the jailed leader. “It was personally a huge honour and privilege to be able to spend an hour with him for him to share his experience of being in prison, something a lot of protesters in Hong Kong are currently experiencing,” the activist explained.
“As a writer, I believe in free speech and the notion that you should not be prosecuted for exercising your right to free expression. As a lawyer I believe in due process and procedural fairness and the right to appeal,” Jason Y. Ng told the Catalan News Agency. “And as a Hongkonger,” he continued, “most importantly, it is in my bones that I believe in these values, and to see somebody being imprisoned for defending those values really breaks my heart.”
Despite this, the visiting activist explained that the imprisoned Cuixart was dealing well with his difficult situation, and that he was remaining “in very good spirits,” according to the Hongkonger writer.
“He’s taking the time in prison for some personal reflection, he has a number of book projects, and all those are very, very encouraging signs,” Y. Ng explained, before lamenting that to him the persecution of ideas is becoming more and more commonplace across the world.
He expressed concern for seeing someone, referring to Jordi Cuixart, being imprisoned for encouraging people to exercise their own right to free expression, and “for merely advocating an idea.”
Calls for international solidarity
“This really requires the international community to stand in solidarity and fight for freedom of expression,” he affirmed.
After meeting with Jordi Cuixart, Jason Y. Ng brought a message from the jailed Catalan leader to his own Hongkonger compatriots. During their meeting, Cuixart wished to express to the people of Hong Kong “to be hopeful and to be patient, because the fight for self-determination and freedom of expression is a marathon, not a sprint.”
“If you fail the first time you have to keep going at it. He wants people to keep hope and faith and keep fighting for what they believe in,” Y. Ng said.