Joshua Wong, the leader of Hong Kong`s fledging pro-democracy movement and a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, defiantly told the Island Times that Palau should not give in to pressure from Xi Jinping`s Chinese authorities.

Wong`s remarkable comments come amid a crisis that has seen Palau`s top tourist airline, which operated flights between Palau and Hong Kong as well as other destinations, forced to suspend operations indefinitely as of August, partially as a result of punitive general measures taken by communist authorities in mainland China against group tourism to Palau.

The leading Hong Kong democracy activist told the Island Times on Friday that Palau`s defiance of Xi Jinping`s pressure may resonate around the world. Joshua Wong stated “I think the people and government of Palau should continue to defy the pressure from Beijing and remain independent of Xi Jinping`s authorities in their decision making. When Palau, a tiny nation with a population of less than 25,000 people can defy Xi Xinping and his authorities, this will inspire other people around the world and in Hong Kong`s democracy movement.”

In 2014, student activist Joshua Wong led tens of thousands of young people in Hong Kong`s largest ever protests in favour of democracy, self-determination and human rights, dubbed the Umbrella Revolution. This year, numerous members of the US Congress nominated Wong for the Nobel Peace Prize for his campaigning. As a result of the 2014 democracy protests, local authorities in Hong Kong initiated a criminal case against Wong and other leaders of the overwhelmingly peaceful protests.

Experts from Amnesty International, a leading international human rights watchdog, warned at the time “the relentless and vindictive pursuit of student leaders using vague charges smacks of political payback by the authorities”.   Wong remains on bail in Hong Kong, after a Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal earlier this year overturned harsh jail sentences against him and others. (Colin Cortbus)