July 21, 2019
Latest News

"Here we are again": Joshua Wong upbeat after massive Hong Kong protests

 Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong (C) looks on as protesters gather outside the Wanchai Police headquarters in Hong Kong, China, June 21, 2019. EPA-EFE/FILE/JEROME FAVRE

Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong (C) looks on as protesters gather outside the Wanchai Police headquarters in Hong Kong, China, June 21, 2019. EPA-EFE/FILE/JEROME FAVRE

Hong Kong, Jun 25 (efe-epa).- Born to a humble Hong Kong family 11 months before the city was handed over to China by the United Kingdom in July 1997, Joshua Wong grew up determined to carry forward the fight for freedom, human rights and democracy.

The young admirer of Nelson Mandela and video-game buff has become one of the most popular faces of the pro-democracy movement in the former British colony, and was released recently on Jul. 17 after spending nearly five weeks in prison for participating in the 2014 protests, dubbed the Umbrella Revolution.

His release came at a crucial moment in the city's struggle for political freedoms: a day earlier, a massive demonstration – probably the biggest in Hong Kong's history – forced Chief Executive Carrie Lam to apologize for her handling of a bill that would allow fugitives to be deported to mainland China.

Although Wong – general secretary of the pro-democracy Demosisto party – insists that neither him nor anyone else can represent two million protesters – an attendance figure offered by the organizers – he told Efe in an interview that "in 2014 we told everyone that we would return, and here we are again."

Q.- China says it would not allow the Hong Kong issue to be discussed at the G20 summit. Do you have actions planned to increase the visibility of the issue?

A. - Washington and Beijing are embroiled in a trade war and there is a growing international awareness of the internment of more than one million Muslims, mostly Uighurs, in China's Xinjiang region, and on Chinese attempts to interfere in the prosperous democracy of Taiwan.

The protesters are also aware of this, and urge the supporters to keep up their actions at least until the G20 summit in Japan is held later this month. They should try to ensure that Hong Kong is seen as a barometer through which the international community judges how China behaves, without becoming a pawn to sacrifice in the growing trade tensions between the two countries.

Q.- What tactics could lead to better results for the current protests compared to the Umbrella Revolution?

A.- The pro-democratic movement in Hong Kong has returned: bigger, more organized, stronger and, in many ways, smarter, having learned the lessons of the failures of the past. When there are no leaders, there are no tensions. The protesters are mobilized to participate in acts of civil disobedience through encrypted message systems and discussion forums on social media , without fear.

Q.- You were recently released. Were you mistreated in jail?

A.- No, but they had security camera focused on me 24 hours and not knowing what time of the day it was bothered me quite a lot.

Q.- What began as a call to withdraw the controversial extradition law has transformed into a series of demands from the government. How do you think this can be resolved?

A.- The priority is the withdrawal of the extradition bill, although the protesters now also demand the resignation of Carrie Lam, the release of all those arrested in the protests, deleting the label of "riot" attached to the protests on the night of June 9 and 12 and an independent investigation into police brutality.

Agents fired 150 tear gas blasts, around 20 bean bag rounds and an unspecified number of rubber bullets that wounded 81 people, including peaceful protesters and journalists.

Q.- July 1 is the 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong being transferred to China, and protesters are planing a massive demonstration. What are your expectations?

A. We are not going to give up, there is no fear. We hope that another million (protesters) will return to the streets to demand that the government eliminate the law. We ask for freedom to organize rallies, a promise made by the communist regime, but now completely ignored.

Q.- What do you think about the government disqualifying elected legislators, banning activists from fighting elections, banning a political party, jailing pro-democracy leaders and expelling foreign journalists?

A. The attack of police forces against citizens and activists is absolutely wrong. Beijing will pay the price of human repression in Hong Kong.

Q.- Hong Kong enjoys some autonomy under the "One country, two systems," model, which allows it to keep its own political and economic system and rights such as freedom of expression, protest and press freedom. What is the current reality?

A. The reality is that right now, the situation is summarized in "one country, one system and a half" and will end up in "one country with only one system".

Q.- In 2047, Hong Kong will be completely integrated in China, and many citizens are afraid that this would mean the end of the city's progress towards becoming a democratic society.

A.- If 10 years ago someone would have told us that in 2047, China would look like Hong Kong, we would have believed it. But in the last decade, we have seen how the Communist Party (of China) seeks to make Hong Kong more and more similar to the rest of China.

Beijing has not even fulfilled its promises to the British, who ruled the territory for 150 years. They agreed to grant Hong Kong universal suffrage in 2007 to directly elect the chief executive.

But in 2003, after the massive protests against Article 23 – known as the Anti-Subversion Law – the central government decided to deprive us of that right as punishment. So today, we still can not vote for those who govern us. That's why we've been fighting to get it.EFE-EPA


News history
Boris Johnson on the cusp of power

By Viviana García

'Hundreds of thousands' throng Hong Kong in fresh pro-democracy protests

Hong Kong, Jul 21 (efe-epa).- Hundreds of thousands of protesters thronged central Hong Kong once again on Sunday as a fresh bout of pro-democracy...

At least 10 killed in twin attacks in Pakistan

Islamabad, Jul 21 (efe-epa).- At least 10 people were killed Sunday and 29 others injured in twin attacks in northwestern Pakistan.

Political test for Zelensky as Ukraine heads to parliamentary polls

Kiev, Jul 21 (efe-epa).- Ukraine is on Sunday voting in parliamentary elections billed as the first political litmus test for the country's newly-elected...

Ecuador president, US secretary of state discuss Venezuelan catastrophe

Guayaquil, Ecuador, Jul 20 (efe-epa).- Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno welcomed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the seaside city of Guayaquil, in a...

British Airways suspends all flights to Cairo, citing security concerns

London, Jul 20 (efe-epa).- British Airways said Saturday that it has suspended all flights to Egypt's capital for seven days, citing unspecified security...

US tells China to stop interfering in oil production in South China Sea

Washington, Jul 20 (efe-epa).- The United States told China on Saturday to stop hampering oil and gas production in the waters of the South China Sea (SCS),...

Netanyahu becomes longest-serving Israeli PM

Jerusalem, Jul 20 (efe-epa).- Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday became Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, surpassing David Ben-Gurion.

198 arrested in France following Algeria’s AFCON win

Paris, Jul 20 (efe-epa).- A total of 198 people were arrested in several cities in France for their alleged involvement in clashes while celebrating...

Pakistan's Khan travels to US to "reset" bilateral relations

Islamabad, Jul 20 (efe-epa).- The prime minister of Pakistan left for the United States on Saturday where he is set to meet the US president in a bid to...

Japan anime studio attack suspect may have acted in revenge: authorities

Tokyo, Jul 20 (efe-epa).- A suspected arson attack on an anime studio in Japan that left at least 34 people dead and scores injured may have been carried...

Iran says seized British tanker hit fishing vessel, crew remain on board

By Marina Villén

US to hold Peru ex-Pres. Toledo without bail pending possible extradition

San Francisco, Jul 19 (efe-epa).- A US federal judge ruled Friday that Peruvian former President Alejandro Toledo must remain bars pending his possible...

Iran's seizure of British oil tanker ratchets up tensions in the Gulf

Marina Villen

Kosovo prime minister resigns, called for questioning by The Hague

Belgrade, July 19 (efe-epa).- Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj presented this Friday in the capital city of Pristina his resignation after being...

Ukraine president would exchange prisoners with Russia

Kiev, Jul 19 (efe-epa).- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Friday that as a gesture of good will he would free Russian-Ukrainian journalist...

Dutch state '10 percent' liable for 350 deaths at Srebrenica

The Hague, Jul 19 (efe-epa).- The Dutch Supreme Court on Friday upheld a ruling that found the Netherlands partially responsible for the deaths of 350...

South Africa deploys army to fight crime in Cape Town

Johannesburg, Jul 19 (efe-epa).- South Africa has deployed a special contingent of its army for the next three months to combat spiraling crime in Cape Town...

Japan, South Korea trade fresh barbs over export curbs

Seoul, Jul 19 (efe-epa).- South Korea on Friday said Japan’s curbs on exports of high-tech materials critical for manufacturing of memory chips was in...

Dutch state '10 percent' liable for 350 deaths at Srebrenica

The Hague, Jul 19 (efe-epa).- The Dutch Supreme Court on Friday upheld a ruling that found the Netherlands partially responsible for the deaths of 350...

First library seeks to bring change to Pakistani gun-making town

By Jaime Leon

Trump nominates Eugene Scalia to replace scandal-ridden labor secretary

Washington DC, Jul 19 (efe-epa).- The president of the United States on Thursday nominated a right-wing corporate lawyer to be the new secretary of labor...

Kyoto Animation fire killed 33 people and injured 35 others

Tokyo, Jul 19 (efe-epa).- Around 100 investigators on Friday began work at an animation studio in Japan's old Imperial capital, where a suspected arson...

Trump says US Navy ship shot down Iranian drone

Washington, Jul 18 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump said Thursday that a US Navy ship patrolling the Strait of Hormuz shot down an Iranian drone that came...

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.