The 22-year-old activist announced his plans on Saturday to run in the local election, set for November. His statement coincided with the anniversary of the 2014 mass protests in Hong Kong, China’s self-governing territory, in which Wong had also participated.
“Five years ago, we claimed that we will be back and now we are back with even stronger determination,” he told reporters. “The battle ahead is the battle for our home and our homeland.”
Wong had earlier been released on bail; he’s charged with organizing an illegal rally outside a police station and is due to appear before a judge on November 8, two weeks before the vote. The anti-Beijing opposition group Demosisto, which Wong co-founded, had been barred from the elections but its ban was later overturned in court. The activist threatened the authorities with more protests if he is prevented from running.
If they disqualify me, it will just generate more and more momentum … they will pay the price.
With his youthful looks and soundbite-rich interviews, Joshua Wong has essentially become the face of the protest movement that has been rocking Hong Kong since summer. He has also grown into a media darling, having made frequent appearances in Western news outlets.
ALSO ON RT.COMHong Kong protest leader calls on Trump to add ‘human rights clause’ to China trade talksThe protests were initially sparked by the now-moot extradition bill that would have allowed the transportation of criminal suspects to mainland China for trial. Human rights campaigners were afraid the legislation would have been exploited by Beijing in order to persecute dissidents.
While some rallies remained peaceful, others spiraled into riots and violent clashes with police, as well as brutal skirmishes between anti-government and pro-Beijing activists.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam eventually suspended the work on the extradition bill and, after more backlash, later pledged to withdraw it completely. The protesters, however, refused to back down, instead insisting the authorities fulfil their other demands, such as an amnesty and electoral reform.
ALSO ON RT.COMHong Kong protesters vandalize train station, hurl firebombs as police deploy tear gas to stop riotTrying to defuse the situation, Lam proposed a series of town hall-like meetings, facilitating a dialogue with the citizens. Protesters dismissed those and, on Thursday, blockaded a stadium where the first such meeting was being held, forcing Lam to remain inside the beseiged venue for four extra hours before she could safely leave.
In search of support for the protests, Wong has travelled to Taiwan and Germany. In Berlin, he was spotted rubbing shoulders with Ukrainian officials who’d seized power in Kiev in the US-backed Euromaidan revolution of 2014. He was also photographed with associates of the Syrian group White Helmets, whose members have been accused of ties to Al Qaeda.
Wong then testified before the US Congress, urging the lawmakers, many of whom openly backed the protesters, to adopt a bill that would allow sanctioning Chinese officials who “interfere” in Hong Kong. He also provided Washington with a list of election officials for potential sanctions.
ALSO ON RT.COMBeijing lashes out at Berlin after German foreign minister meets with Hong Kong protest activistChina has strongly rallied against what it said were foreign attempts to incite riots in Hong Kong. Beijing said that Wong’s meetings with foreign politicians are tantamount to meddling in Hong Kong’s affairs, and that all outside plots to interfere are “doomed to failure.”