‘Hong Kongers will never surrender, because we have nowhere else to turn.’ At age 14, Joshua Wong co-founded the student activist group Scholarism, protesting the enforcement of Chinese National Education in Hong Kong. He went on to become a very public leader of the Umbrella Movement, as a founding member and secretary-general of the pro-democracy party Demosistō.
When Beijing passed a controversial new national security law on 30 June 2020, the party disbanded and less than a week later, two of Wong’s books — alongside those from other pro-democracy activists — were removed from Hong Kong public libraries. ‘With sweeping powers and ill-defined law,’ Wong said, ‘the city will turn into a secret police state.’
He has been arrested by the Chinese state numerous times for his protesting and activism and has served more than 100 days in jail. In early July, Wong announced he would be running for Hong Kong legislature on 9 September. This is a campaign that puts him firmly in view of Beijing, even as some of his compatriots have left the island, faced with the possibility of extradition to mainland China. In this very special event chaired by China Director of Human Rights Watch Sophie Richardson, Joshua Wong joins us live from Hong Kong with an urgent call for all of us to defend democracy.