Joshua Wong was born in 1996. Seven years old, he was diagnosed with dyslexia. As a 14-year-old, he became the leader of the demonstrations in Hong Kong. This attracted so much attention that he became a front person Time Magazine in October 2014 and was called the foremost face of the demonstrations. He proved to be a strong and courageous leader already in his early teens.
In 1997 received China returned his official status as overlord of Hong Kong. China promised to allow the region to hold democratic and free elections, but in 2014 the Chinese authorities decided that only persons designated in advance by the Chinese authorities could be elected.
From then on, the young people of Hong Kong started their peaceful protests against the regime, which led to very violent clashes between police and protesters. The Protestants used umbrellas to protect themselves from pepper spray and tear gas, and the protests grew into a revolt that has since been called the Umbrella Revolution.
The protests led to very violent clashes between police and protesters.
China has been trying for years to control the media and its legal system. An extradition agreement with China means that protesters and other critics of the regime can now be extradited and sentenced to prison there. If, for example, you make fun of the Chinese national anthem, you risk a sentence of three years in Chinese prison.
The extradition agreement is the main reason for the protests, in addition to the great social injustice in Hong Kong.
Campaigns at school
Joshua Wong showed early leadership skills and the ability to ask critical questions. Despite the dyslexia, he was enormously verbal already as a child, was often rude and funny in the local Christian congregation, and he made himself unpopular with the principal of the secondary school when he reported the bad food there. On a separate Facebook page, he invited his friends to report that the food at school was too bad and called the protest "Campaign against bad food at UCC".
The school's management immediately found out what was going on. He was summoned to the principal's office with his parents. The Christian parents defended him. He escaped with a warning, but decided not to do anything similar again, not because he regretted it, but because he had realized that there were bigger fish in the sea. He was already aiming higher and had bigger plans.
He had long looked at the poverty around him with a critical eye. His Christian family belonged to a privileged upper middle class who enjoyed his social position, while a quarter of Hong Kong's rest of the population lived below the poverty line. Joshua Wang found the injustice screaming.
Housing market for the rich
Joshua Wong talks well and in detail about the political system in Hong Kong and how it is structured. The judiciary is called LegCo, and the parliament consists of 70 members divided into two chambers with 35 members each. Strong interest groups represent the various election sectors, and it is these privileged people who actually choose who will govern the country.
The elections are free and democratic, apparently. But that is not the full and complete truth. In addition, injustice applies not only to the electoral system but also to many other areas of Hong Kong's social and public life. The housing market is governed, for example, by an elitist interest group. This leads to a housing market that is beneficial to the rich, but which means that the poor end up in the slums.
Recruited student groups
In 2017 made #Joshua wong# a Facebook group for students where all kinds of issues were discussed, such as issues that had to do with the unfair way society is structured.
The group grew rapidly, but he did not content himself with sitting at home and writing posts on social media. He made banners and leaflets with other students, recruited various student groups and encouraged them to protest. He himself gave protest speeches with shouts on every street corner.
On September 13, 2017, a demonstration was held that gathered several thousand people, with Joshua Wong as the natural leader. The students demonstrated outside the government's headquarters, among other places.
It started with a five-day boycott of the university. He urged all participants to occupy Civic Square, a large public square in central Hong Kong. He sat on the fence in front of the government building with a shout, started talking, but was immediately taken care of and arrested by the police and sentenced to six months in prison. The imprisonment began on Thursday 17 August 2017. However, he was released as early as 23 October the same year and then rejoined the protesters. The sentence was shortened because he was a teenager.
Diary from prison
"The uprising brought out the best in us all," Joshua Wong wrote. Food and water were distributed, the students supported each other in the fights. Reports of sexual abuse by the police began to seep in.
Wong tells all about this in the book, which is, among other things, a diary from his imprisonment in Pik Uk, where he served his sentence.
Joshua Wong has since wanted to stand for election, but the authorities have not allowed it. The Hong Kong Electoral Commission has informed him that it cannot allow, since Wong has identified himself as a supporter of the region's right to self-determination, which is contrary to the wishes and will of the Chinese authorities. Hong Kong's top political leader, Carrie Lam, has publicly stated that Joshua Wong cannot be approved as an election representative. This provision has not yet been reversed.
The book concludes with a global manifesto for democracy. Unfree Speech is a very strong manifesto for democracy and human rights.