Behind every revolt and protest, there is a leader. Ever since thousands of student protesters have taken to the streets of Hong Kong, demanding a full democracy, 17 year-old Joshua Wong has been in the spotlight. Who is he? Wong leads Scholarism, an “extremist” student activist group which was formed in 2011. Wong and protesters are calling upon the Chinese government to allow free democratic elections in Hong Kong for 2017.
Protests only grew on China’s National Day. Another student leader, Lester Shum told protesters, “We will escalate the action if CY Leung doesn’t resign by tonight or tomorrow night. We will occupy more government facilities and offices.” Leung Chun-ying is the third and incumbent Chief Executive of the Executive Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
Wong, who jump-started the demonstrations has been an avid activist since age 15. After leading over 100,000 protesters, Wong was placed in a 40-hour detention. The teenager’s parents commented on their son’s arrest and described it as political persecution saying, “We have always brought up Joshua to be compassionate, caring, principled and loyal and we are very proud of all that he is doing to make Hong Kong a better place for his generation and our generation.”
When Wong lead pro-democracy protests back in July, he did not condone violence. He told CNN, “We were able to show that peaceful, non-violent protest is possible. We did not engage in any verbal or physical conflict with the police.”
Wong has made it clear that he does not want to be the face of the movement. At the young age of 15, Wong told a newspaper, “If a mass movement turns into worshipping a particular person, that’s a great problem.”