Joshua Wong (activist)

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Joshua Wong
Joshua Wong at Kowloon City Magistrates' Court at 11-45 on February 12, 2016.JPG
Joshua Wong at Kowloon City Magistrates' Court on 12 February 2016
Secretary-General of Demosistō
Assumed office
10 April 2016
Chairman Nathan Law
Convenor of Scholarism
In office
29 May 2011 – 20 March 2016
Preceded by Office established
Succeeded by Office dissolved
Personal details
Born Joshua Wong Chi-fung
(1996-10-13) 13 October 1996 (age 20)
British Hong Kong
Citizenship Hong Kong permanent resident
Nationality Hong Kong
Political party Demosistō
Residence Hong Kong
Education Open University of Hong Kong
Alma mater United Christian College (Kowloon East)
Occupation Student
Known for Convening Scholarism;
2014 Hong Kong protests
Joshua Wong
Joshua Wong Chi-fung.jpg
Wong Chi-fung in July 2012
Traditional Chinese 黃之鋒
Simplified Chinese 黃之鋒

Joshua Wong Chi-fung (Cantonese: 黃之鋒, born 13 October 1996)[2] is a Hong Kong student activist who serves as secretary general of Demosistō. Wong previously served as the convenor and founder of the Hong Kong student activist group Scholarism.[2][3] Internationally known for his prominent role during the 2014 Umbrella Revolution, his major influence in Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement has resulted in his inclusion in TIME's Most Influential Teens of 2014, nomination for TIME's Person of the Year 2014[4] and recognition by Fortune as one of the world's greatest leaders in 2015.[5][6]

In August 2017 Wong and two other pro-democracy activists were jailed for attempting to "retake" the closed Civic Square in 2014.

Early life[edit]

Joshua Wong was born in British Hong Kong on 13 October 1996, and was diagnosed with dyslexia soon thereafter.[7][8] The son of middle-class couple Grace and Roger Wong,[9] Joshua was raised as a Protestant Christian.[10][11] His social awareness stems from his father, who often took him, as a child, to visit the underprivileged.[12][13]

Wong studied at the United Christian College (Kowloon East),[14] a private Christian middle school in Kowloon, and developed organisational and speaking skills through involvement in church groups.[15] The 2010 anti-high speed rail protests were the first political protests in which he took part.[16]

On 29 May 2011, Wong and schoolmate Ivan Lam established Scholarism, a student activist group. The group began with simple means of protest, such as the distribution of leaflets against the newly-announced moral and national education (MNE).[15][17] In time, however, Wong's group grew in both size and influence, and in 2012 managed to organise a political rally attended by over 100,000 people.[15] Wong received widespread attention as the group's convenor.[18] On 27 September 2014, Wong was one of the 78 people arrested by the police during a massive pro-democracy protest,[19] after hundreds of students stormed Civic Square in front of the Central Government Complex as a sign of protest against Beijing's decision on the 2014 Hong Kong electoral reform.[20][21] However, unlike most of those arrested who were freed soon afterwards, Wong remained in custody for 46 hours, until his lawyers moved a writ of habeas corpus.[22][23]

Role in 2014 Hong Kong protests[edit]

Wong giving an interview on 28 October 2014, during the Hong Kong protests.

In June 2014, Scholarism drafted a plan to reform Hong Kong's electoral system to push for universal suffrage, under one country, two systems. His group strongly advocated for the inclusion of civic nomination in the 2017 Hong Kong Chief Executive Election.[16] Wong as a student leader started a class boycott among Hong Kong's students to send a pro-democracy message to Beijing.[21]

During the protests, Wong stated: "Among all the people in Hong Kong, there is only one person who can decide whether the current movement will last and he is Leung. If Leung can accept our demands ... (the) movement will naturally come to an end."[24]

Wong was accused by certain media outlets of receiving donations and conspiring with the United States during the movement;[25] he was also criticised for opposing the government for no apparent reason,[26] and considered as an extremist.[21] Wong, in response, dismissed the allegations as baseless,[27] and re-emphasised the non-violent nature of the movement. [28]

Wong was charged on 27 November 2014 with obstructing a bailiff clearing one of Hong Kong's three protest areas. His lawyer described the charge as politically motivated.[4][29] He was banned from a large part of Mong Kok as one of the bail conditions. This ban covers the area enclosed by the following streets and roads: Fa Yuen Street, Dundas Street, Shanghai Street and Mong Kok Road. Wong is only allowed to be in the area while in transit.[30] Wong claims that police beat him and tried to injure his groin as he was arrested, and taunted and swore at him while he was in custody.[31]

After Wong appeared at Kowloon City Court on 27 November 2014 he was pelted with eggs by two men.[32] Li Wong, 27, and Cheung Ka-shing, 33 were arrested and each fined $3000 in August 2015.[33] Prosecutors filed a review petition, arguing that this ruling was too lenient. Magistrate Eric Cheung noted that the attack was premeditated and that the perpetrators lacked remorse and were uncooperative, and stated that a deterrent sentence was necessary to discourage others from committing acts of violence. On 9 November 2015 he sentenced Li and Cheung to two weeks in jail.[34]

On 2 December 2014, Wong and two other students began an indefinite hunger strike for to demand renewed talks with the Hong Kong government. He decided to end the hunger strike after four days on medical advice.[35]

Post-Umbrella Movement[edit]

Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow on 23 September 2014. They wear red blindfolds to symbolize students figuratively blinded by China's political power.

Wong was arrested for questioning on Friday, 16 January 2015 for his involvement in civil-disobedience offences during the Umbrella Revolution. Wong stated: "I was held for three hours and I was arrested on charges of calling for, inciting and participating in an unauthorized assembly."[36]

The same month, an article appeared in the Pro-Beijing newspaper Wen Wei Po alleging that during his visit in 2011, Wong had met with the US consul general in Hong Kong Stephen M. Young. It suggested that Wong had links with the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States, which had supposedly offered him military training by the US army. Wong replied to these accusations, saying these were mere fictional claims which were "more like jokes."[37]

Wong was denied entry into Malaysia on 26 May 2015, as he was considered "a threat to Malaysia's ties with China", largely due to the supposed "anti-China" stance shown by his role in organising demonstrations in the 2014 Hong Kong protests.[38]

On 28 June 2015, two days before a protest in favour of democracy, Wong and his girlfriend were attacked by an unknown man after watching a film in Mong Kok. The assault sent the two to hospital. Wong sustained injuries to his nose and eyes.[39] No one was arrested.[40][41][42][43]

On 19 August 2015, Wong was formally charged by Hong Kong police with inciting other people to join an unlawful assembly and also joining an unlawful assembly, alongside Alex Chow, the former leader of the Hong Kong Federation of Students.[44] A trial was scheduled for 30 September.[45]

Hong Kong director Wong Jing endorsed Joshua Wong writing a tribute article to him due to his efforts to defend students' rights.[46]

While traveling to Taiwan for a political seminar, "pro-China" protesters attempted to assault Wong at the arrival hall of Taipei's Taoyuan International Airport, necessitating police protection. It was later found that local gangsters are involved.[47][48]


In April 2016, Wong founded a new political party, Demosistō, with other Scholarism leaders including Agnes Chow and Oscar Lai and Umbrella leaders, after the original student activist group Scholarism was disbanded. The party advocates for a referendum to determine Hong Kong's sovereignty after 2047, when the One Country, Two Systems principle as promised in the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Hong Kong Basic Law is supposed to expire. As the founding secretary-general of the party, Wong also planned to contest in the 2016 Legislative Council election.[49] However, as Wong was 19 and is too young to run, he filed an application for a judicial review of the election laws in October 2015 to lower the minimum age for candidates to 18 from 21.[50] After his decision to found his own political party, criticism against Wong has increased specially in different social networks.[51]

Detention in Thailand[edit]

Joshua Wong was detained on arrival in Thailand on 5 October 2016. He had been invited to speak at an event marking the 40th anniversary of the Thammasat University massacre, hosted by Chulalongkorn University. A Thai student activist who invited Wong, Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, said that Thai authorities had received a letter from the Chinese government earlier regarding Wong’s visit.[52] His request to see Wong was denied.[53] Thai immigration confirmed that it had blacklisted Wong due to a request from China.[54]

After nearly 12 hours of detainment, Wong was deported to Hong Kong.[52] Initially, Wong claimed that the authorities refused to say why he was being detained. After his return to Hong Kong, Wong said that Thai officials provided bureaucratic documents concerning their actions just before Wong was deported.[55]

Hong Kong Legislator Claudia Mo called the incident "despicable" and stated: "If this becomes a precedent it means it could happen to you or me at any time if somehow Beijing thinks you are a dangerous, unwelcome person".[56] Jason Y. Ng, a Hong Kong journalist and author, stated that Wong's detainment showed "how ready Beijing is to flex its diplomatic muscles and [how it] expects neighbouring governments to play ball".[52]

Wong eventually spoke with a Thai audience from Hong Kong via Skype.[57]


Joshua Wong, along with two other prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy student leaders Nathan Law and Alex Chow, were jailed for six to eight months on 17 August 2017 for storming the Civic Square at the Central Government Complex in Tamar during a protest that triggered the 79-day Occupy sit-ins of 2014. The sentence also "halted their budding political careers", as they are barred from running for public office for five years.[58]



  • 2017 Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower, a documentary film about Joshua Wong
  • 2015 Fortune – World's 50 Greatest Leaders (10th place)
  • 2014 Lessons in Dissent, a documentary film featuring Wong and fellow activist Ma Jai
  • 2014 TIME Cover (Asia Edition)
  • 2014 TIME – The 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014
  • 2014 Foreign Policy – 100 Leading Global Thinkers
  • 2014 TIME – Person of the Year 2014 (Reader's Poll – 3rd place)
  • 2014 YAHOO Top Ten Search Ranking – No.1 (Hong Kong)
  • AFP 10 Most influential people 2014
  • The Times – Young Person of the year 2014

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Association for Conversation of Hong Kong Indigenous Languages Online Dictionary for Hong Kong Hakka and Hong Kong Punti (Weitou dialect)
  2. ^ a b Lai, Alexis (30 July 2012). "'National education' raises furor in Hong Kong". Hong Kong: CNN. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  3. ^ Hsieh, Steven (8 October 2012). "Hong Kong Students Fight for the Integrity of their Education". The Nation. Hong Kong. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Hong Kong Student Leader Joshua Wong Charged With Obstruction". Time. 27 November 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  5. ^ Yik Fei, Lam . World's Greatest Leaders: 10: Joshua Wong. Fortune.
  6. ^ AFP. H.K.'s Joshua Wong among 'world's greatest leaders': Fortune. 27 March 2015. Daily Mail.
  7. ^ 《黃之鋒:好學生重新定義》, (in Chinese), Ming Pao, 9 September 2012.
  8. ^ "Joshua Wong, the 17-year-old battling Beijing for greater democracy in Hong Kong". The Strait Times. Asia. 2 October 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  9. ^ BBC News. Asia. 2 October 2014. Profile: Hong Kong student protest leader Joshua Wong. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  10. ^ Moore, Malcolm. 2014. Portrait of Hong Kong's 17-year-old protest leader. The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 December 2014.: "He is a strict Christian, and his parents Grace and Roger are Lutherans."
  11. ^ Sagan, Aleksandra. 2 October 2014. "Joshua Wong: Meet the teen mastermind of Hong Kong's 'umbrella revolution". CBC News. Retrieved 10 December 2014.: "They raised him as a Christian – a religion he still identifies with. Wong recalls accompanying his father to visit some of the less fortunate in Hong Kong when he was much younger"
  12. ^ Moyer, Justin. 2014. "The teenage activist wunderkind who was among the first arrested in Hong Kong's Occupy Central". The Washington Post. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  13. ^ Leah Marieann Klett. 8 October 2014. ""Joshua Wong, Christian Student Leading Hong Kong Protests Will Continue To Fight For Democracy". Gospel Herald. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  14. ^ Pedroletti, Par. 29, Sept. 2014. Les leaders de la mobilisation citoyenne à Hongkong. Le Monde. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  15. ^ a b c
  16. ^ a b Chan, Yannie (15 May 2014). "Joshua Wong". HK Magazine. Hong Kong. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  17. ^ 基本資料 (in Chinese). Scholarism. 
  18. ^ "Scholarism's Joshua Wong embodies anti-national education body's energy". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. 10 July 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  19. ^ Jacobs, Harrison (27 September 2014). "REPORT: Hong Kong's 17-Year-Old 'Extremist' Student Leader Arrested During Massive Democracy Protest". Hong Kong: Business Insider. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  20. ^ Sevastopulo, Demetri (26 September 2014). "Hong Kong police arrest pro-democracy student leader". Financial Times. Hong Kong. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  21. ^ a b c Chan, Wilfred; Yuli Yang (25 September 2014). "Echoing Tiananmen, 17-year-old Hong Kong student prepares for democracy battle". Hong Kong: CNN. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  22. ^ "Meet the 17-year-old face of Hong Kong's protests". USA Today. 2 October 2014. Archived from the original on 27 January 2015. 
  23. ^ Chan, Kelvin (28 September 2014). "Hong Kong police use tear gas on protesters". Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Retrieved 28 September 2014. 
  24. ^ Calum MacLeod,"Meet The 17-Year-Old Leading Hong Kong's Protests", USA Today, 2 October 2014
  25. ^ Nile Bowie, "Hong Kong’s 'Semi-Autonomous Democracy' is a leap forward", RT. com, 30 September 2014
  26. ^ 《學民思潮參與「倒梁」 防止洗腦教育再現》, (in Chinese) 1 January 2013
  27. ^ "Hong Kong's 'Semi-Autonomous Democracy' is still a leap forward". RT. Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  28. ^ Frances Martel"17-YEAR-OLD PROTEST VETERAN JOSHUA WONG IS FACE OF HONG KONG PROTESTS", Breitbart, 3 October 2014
  29. ^ "Hong Kong protesters warned not to return to clash site". BBC. 1 December 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  30. ^ "Joshua Wong banned from Mong Kok areas". RTHK. 27 November 2014. Retrieved 31 December 2014. 
  31. ^ Branigan, Tania (28 November 2014). "Hong Kong student leader considering suing police over arrest, says lawyer". The Guardian. 
  32. ^ Lau, Chris; Lai, Ying-kit (27 November 2014). "Joshua Wong pelted with eggs outside court after being banned from Mong Kok". South China Morning Post. 
  33. ^ Chan, Thomas (19 August 2015). "Pair who threw eggs at Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong in anti-Occupy Central protest fined HK$3,000 each". South China Morning Post. 
  34. ^ "Joshua Wong egg attackers get two-week jail terms". Hong Kong Economic Journal. 10 November 2015. 
  35. ^ "Hong Kong student leader Joshua Wong calls off hunger strike". The Straits Times. 6 December 2014. Retrieved 8 December 2014. 
  36. ^ "Hong Kong Student Leader Joshua Wong Questioned Over Pro-Democracy Protests". Time. 16 January 2015. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  37. ^ Ejinsight. 29 June 2015. Joshua Wong dismisses Xinhua article on alleged CIA links. Hong Kong Economic Journal Company Limited
  38. ^ Ng, Joyce (26 May 2015). "Occupy student leader Joshua Wong 'a threat to Malaysia's ties with China', police chief admits". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. Retrieved 29 May 2015. 
  39. ^ Liu, Juliana. 2 August 2015. Joshua Wong: 'We had no clear goals' in Hong Kong protests. BBC News
  40. ^ Ejinsght. 29 June 2015. Scholarism leader Joshua Wong, girlfriend attacked after movie. Hong Kong Economic Journal Company Limited.
  41. ^ Lee, Jeremy. 29 June 2015. Hong Kong student activist Joshua Wong and girlfriend injured after being attacked on street. The Strait Times.
  42. ^ Ying-kit, Lai. 29 June 2015. Attack on Hong Kong student leader Joshua Wong 'a threat to free speech'. Law & Crime.
  43. ^ Hong Kong student leader Joshua Wong in chilling assault, Yahoo News, 28 June 2015.
  44. ^ Master, Farah; Paul Tait (19 August 2015). "Key Hong Kong pro-democracy students charged after Occupy protests". Hong Kong. Reuters. Retrieved 27 August 2015. 
  45. ^ Wednesday 2 September 2015. Leader of Hong Kong democracy protests Joshua Wong to face trial. The Guardian
  46. ^ SC Yeung. Ejinsight. Why is there a boycott drive against Wong Jing’s latest movie?. Hong Kong Economic Journal Company Limited. Feb. 4, 2016
  47. ^ "Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong under police protection in Taiwan after assault attempt". South China Morning Post. January 8, 2017. Archived from the original on January 12, 2017. Taiwan police ramped up protection for Hong Kong student activist Joshua Wong Chi-fung and a few pro-democracy lawmakers after a failed attempt by a pro-China protester to assault him as he arrived in the island state in the early hours [...] About 200 protesters from a pro-China group in Taiwan gathered at the arrival hall of Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport at midnight. They chanted slogans deriding Wong, and Hong Kong legislators Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Edward Yiu Chung-yim – who arrived on the same flight at 12.30am – as “independence scum”, saying they were not welcome in Taiwan. 
  48. ^ Coonan, Clifford (January 10, 2017). "Hong Kong activist blames pro-Beijing forces after airport assault". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on January 12, 2017. Hong Kong pro-democracy leader Joshua Wong says an assault on him and fellow rights activist Nathan Law at the territory’s airport was a co-ordinated attack by pro-Beijing elements angry at his group’s calling for more self-determination [...] Mr Wong and Mr Law travelled to Taiwan with fellow lawmakers Edward Yiu and Eddie Chu for talks with Taiwan’s pro-independence body, the New Power Party, raising hackles in Beijing. They were greeted by irate pro-China protesters in Taipei as they arrived for the forum. 
  49. ^ "Joshua Wong's party named 'Demosisto'". Radio Television Hong Kong. 6 April 2016. 
  50. ^ Wong, Alan (18 February 2016). "Hong Kong Students Who Protested Government Now Seek to Take Part in It". New York Times. 
  51. ^ South China Morning Post. Jason Y Ng. 'Baptism of fire for Joshua Wong and his nascent political party'. 29 de abril de 2016.
  52. ^ a b c Cheung, Eric; Phillips, Tom; Holmes, Oliver (5 October 2016). "Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong attacks Thailand after being barred 'at China's request'". The Guardian. 
  53. ^ Phillips, Tom; Malkin, Bonnie (5 October 2015). "Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong detained in Thailand 'at China's request' – reports". The Guardian. 
  54. ^
  55. ^
  56. ^
  57. ^
  58. ^ Siu, Jasmine (17 August 2017). "Joshua Wong and other jailed Hong Kong student leaders see political careers halted". South China Morning Post. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
New title Convenor of Scholarism
Organisation dissolved
Party political offices
New title Secretary-General of Demosistō