Chinese state media blasts climate activist Greta Thunberg for backing release of 12 detainees

Swedish climate activist Thunberg spoke out in support of the 12 Hongkongers who have been detained at a Shenzhen facility for almost 60 days. Photos via Twitter/Greta Thunberg and Apple Daily
Swedish climate activist Thunberg spoke out in support of the 12 Hongkongers who have been detained at a Shenzhen facility for almost 60 days. Photos via Twitter/Greta Thunberg and Apple Daily

Chinese state media has hit out at Swedish climate campaigner Greta Thunberg after she called for the release of the 12 Hong Kong protesters detained on the mainland.

Global Times, a tabloid affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party, wrote Monday that Thunberg had “blindly joined [Joshua] Wong in requesting the release” of the protesters.

Wong, the Hong Kong protest leader, has been actively raising awareness among the international community about the detention of the 12 demonstrators in Shenzhen, where they have been held since their failed escape via speedboat to Taiwan on August 23.

Last week, the Swedish teen tweeted a photo of her holding a sign reading “#SAVE12HKYOUTHS,” adding that “12 is more than just a number.”

Global Times, echoing Chinese netizens’ criticism of Thunberg on Weibo, wrote that the activist is in “collusion” with Wong.

The paper also called Wong a “secessionist” and quoted a Weibo comment that referred to Thunberg as a “clown eager to play to the gallery.”

In a tweet posted by Wong showing protesters taking to the streets on July 1, the day after the national security law was passed, Thunberg responded on Twitter: “My thoughts are with the people of Hong Kong.”

Read more: Protester among the 12 Hongkongers detained in Shenzhen has battled depression for years: Reports

As of Tuesday, the 12 Hongkongers who were caught fleeing to Taiwan have been held in Shenzhen for almost 60 days. Mainland Chinese authorities have repeatedly denied them access to lawyers, insisting that the state has arranged legal representation for them.

Human Rights Watch has condemned the detention. “The decision of these young people to flee Hong Kong reflects the widespread fear about the implications of the national security law,” a statement reads.

Earlier this month, activists including Wong said they had obtained evidence appearing to show that the Government Flying Service had conducted an operation in the area where the 12 Hongkongers were believed to be traveling through to Taiwan. They accused police of setting up the mission and working with mainland Chinese authorities to intercept their escape.

Police say they were not involved in the arrest, and Chief Executive Carrie Lam said in a press conference on Oct. 6 that it is “very unhealthy for the Hong Kong society” to “continue to labour on these misrepresentations and wrong news.”

Subscribe to the WTF is Up in Southeast Asia + Hong Kong podcast to get our take on the top trending news and pop culture from the region every Thursday!



Reader Interactions

Leave A Reply


BECOME A COCO+ MEMBER

Support local news and join a community of like-minded
“Coconauts” across Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.

Join Now
Coconuts TV
Our latest and greatest original videos
Subscribe on

MOST POPULAR