Prominent Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong to run for office
Hong Kong: Prominent Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong announced plans Saturday to contest local elections and warned that any attempt to disqualify him will only spur more support for monthslong pro-democracy protests.
His announcement came ahead of a major rally later Saturday to mark the fifth anniversary of the Umbrella protests, where he first shot to fame as a youth leader.
During the Umbrella Movement, protesters occupied key thoroughfares in the semiautonomous Chinese territory for 79 days to demand for free elections for the city's leaders but failed to win any concessions.
Wong, 22, said that he will run in district council elections in November and that the vote is crucial to send a message to Beijing that the people are more determined than ever to win the battle for more rights.
"Five years ago, we claimed that we will be back and now we are back with even stronger determination," he told a news conference. "The battle ahead is the battle for our home and our homeland." Wong, who has been arrested and jailed repeatedly, said he is aware that he could be disqualified.
Members of the Demosisto party that he co-founded in 2016 have in the past been disqualified from serving and running for office because they advocated self-determination.
He said the political censorship by Beijing showed an erosion of Hong Kong's autonomy under the "one country, two systems" framework when the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1996.
"If they disqualify me, it will just generate more and more momentum ... they will pay the price," he said. Wong is out on bail after he was rearrested with several other people last month and charged with organizing an illegal rally.