A well-known Hong Kong protester who earned the moniker of “Grandma Wong” has made her first public appearance in 14 months after vanishing in around August last year.
Human rights organisations had raised fears about where Alexandra Wong, who could often be seen brandishing a British flag at democracy demonstrations, was.
The 64-year-old has now revealed she was detained in the border city of Shenzhen in mainland China last August where she was allegedly mentally abused and made to disavow her activism in writing.
She held an emotionally charged press conference in Hong Kong on Saturday where she explained she was initially detained by the Shenzhen authorities for 45 days without being informed of what she was being charged with.
Ms Wong said: “I was afraid I would die in that detention centre”.
When the 45 days drew to a close, she said she was told to tell the camera she hadn't been tortured, and she would no longer protest or speak to the press – adding that she was also sent on a “patriotic tour” of Shaanxi province during her time on the mainland.
Ms Wong said: “I won't give up fighting. After all, there will be sacrifice, otherwise... the authoritarian system won't be changed.”
She was blocked from going to Hong Kong for a year after she was allowed out on bail but these rules ran out last month.
The protester urged the authorities to release 12 Hong Kong activists who the mainland authorities detained in August.
Ms Wong, who had Union Jack flags pinned to her clothes and bags during demonstrations, could routinely be seen on the frontlines of protests which saw millions take to the streets. The bespectacled campaigner was sometimes involved in fraught standoffs between police and protesters.