Childhood & Early Life
Born on October 13, 1996, in Hong Kong, Joshua is the son of Grace and Roger Wong. His grew up in a Lutheran middle-class household. Much of his social awareness comes from his father, a former IT professional, with whom he used to visit the underprivileged.
Wong was a student at the United Christian College (Kowloon East), which is a private Christian middle school in Kowloon. During this period, he worked with several church groups, which helped him grow his organisational and oratory skills.
Activism & Hong Kong Protests
In 2010, Joshua Wong was involved in the anti-high-speed rail protests. This was the first large political activity in which he participated.
He set up Scholarism on May 29, 2011, with schoolmate Ivan Lam Long-yin. They started by conducting simple means of protests, including the distribution of leaflets against the newly-announced moral and national education (MNE). In time, it grew, and by 2012, they were organising political rallies with over 100,000 citizens in attendance.
In June 2014, Scholarism released a draft of their plan of the reformation of Hong Kong’s electoral system, which advocated for universal suffrage, under the “One Country, Two Systems” principle.
They also actively pushed for the inclusion of civic nomination in the 2017 Hong Kong Chief Executive Election. In a pro-democracy message to Beijing, Wong led a class boycott among students in Hong Kong.
He again served as one of the leaders in a massive pro-democracy protest, during which hundreds of students campaigned in the Civic Square in front of the Central Government Complex, against Beijing's decision on the 2014 Hong Kong electoral reforms. Wong, along with 77 other activists, was arrested. While most of them were let go, it took a court order for Wong to be released by the police.
Throughout the protests, Wong has been fighting the Beijing propaganda that labelled him as a US stooge. According to him, his name has been put in mainland China's Blue Paper on National Security, which lists internal threats. In response, he quoted the following line from ‘V for Vendetta’: “People should not be afraid of their government, the government should be afraid of their people.”
On November 27, 2014, Hong Kong authorities charged Wong with preventing a bailiff from clearing one of Hong Kong's three protest areas, a charge that his lawyer claimed was politically motivated. According to Wong, he was beaten and humiliated by the police while he was in their custody.
On June 28, 2015, he and his girlfriend were assaulted by an unknown man in Mong Kok. Both had to be admitted to a hospital. While there was subsequently an investigation, no one was apprehended.
In April 2016, Wong and other Scholarism activists established a new political party, Demosistō. It asks for a referendum to be conducted to decide on Hong Kong’s political fate after 2047, when the One Country, Two Systems principle is set to expire.
He even had the plans to contest in the 2016 Legislative Council election but could not as the statutory minimum age for candidacy in Hong Kong is 21, and he was 19 at the time. Wong received some criticism on social media for his decision to create a political party.
Convictions & Imprisonments
In August 2017, Joshua Wong, along with two other pro-democracy activists, was sentenced to jail for his involvement in the occupation of Civic Square at the beginning of the 2014 Occupy Central protests.
In January 2018, he was sentenced to imprisonment once more for his failure to abide by a court order for vacating the Mong Kok protest site during the Mong Kong protests in 2014.
In his relatively short political career, Wong has been convicted and imprisoned multiple times. On August 29, 2019, he was arrested right before a planned demonstration for which the city had not given its approval.