Caught in the Dragon’s jaws: Hong Kong’s daunting youth trio — who are they?Mon 23 Nov 2020
Three prominent Hong Kong activists are facing jail after pleading guilty on Monday to inciting an “illegal assembly” outside the city’s main police station during last year’s revolutionary pro-democracy protests.
Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam have spent years campaigning for democracy, becoming activists when they were just teens.
Arguably the most recognisable of Hong Kong’s new generation of warriors, 24-year-old Wong has been a constant thorn in Beijing’s side over the last decade.
He became an activist in his early teens, successfully campaigning for Hong Kong to drop a pro-China “National Education” programme by rallying a crowd of 120,000 to blockade the city’s parliament.
In 2014, he helped spearhead the “Umbrella Movement” protests alongside fellow student leaders, with mass calls for civil disobedience but failed to force a government concede.
When last year’s huge protests broke out, Wong was still serving a jail sentence for his involvement in that earlier round, but rejoined the fray after his release, once again capturing attention on a global scale.
He has been hailed as one of the world’s most influential figures by Time, Fortune and Foreign Policy magazines, and was the subject of the Netflix documentary “Teenager vs Superpower”.
During last year’s protests, Wong met politicians in Europe and the United States and called for sanctions against China.
An infuriated China then imposed a new national security law on Beijing outlaws pushing for greater autonomy for Hong Kong or sanctions. Shortly before the law passed, Wong disbanded his political party Demosisto.
Monday’s trial is just one of many cases prosecutors have brought against him in the last year.
Chow, 23, hails from the same generation of Hong Kong democracy activists who bit into politics as teenagers and are now within the crosshairs of China.
Raised in an apolitical Catholic household, Chow had already joined a youth-led movement by the age of 15, protesting against plans to implement “moral and national education” in public schools.
Like Wong she became a major figure of the Umbrella Movement protests and co-founded Demosisto.
By 2018, she was one of the first Demosisto politicians barred from standing for local elections because the party advocated “self-determination”.
So in order to run in the election, Chow gave up her British citizenship.
Since then it has become commonplace for authorities to disqualify politicians for the views they hold — or to bar certain people for standing in local legislature elections.
She has been key to bringing international attention to Hong Kong’s democracy movement, with her swimming fluency in English, Cantonese and Japanese, even raising a formidable social media base in Japan through Twitter. The account has over half a million followers.
She was one of the first opposition politicians to be arrested under Beijing’s new security law — on a charge of “colluding with foreign forces” — and could face a life term in jail if prosecuted and convicted.
Lam, 26, is the least recognisable amid the trio, but just as driven and clash-hardened as the other two, actively leading opposition rallies in Hon Kong.
Born to a policeman father, he attended the same secondary school as Wong and helped kickstart the campaign against patriotic education.
He has been convicted four times for pro-democracy protests or rallies against various government proposals.
Lam was core to the formation of Demosisto and later served as the party’s chairman up until the group was disbanded earlier this year.
[Sourced from Agencies]