Why Hong Kong's Joshua Wong does not think we need another Occupy Central

Why Hong Kong's Joshua Wong does not think we need another Occupy Central

As the anniversary of the Occupy Central protests falls, Joshua Wong thinks there is a better way for the city to achieve its goals

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Joshua Wong thinks there might be a better way for Hong Kong
Photo: Jonathan Wong/SCMP

Student activist Joshua Wong Chi-fung said another civil disobedience movement "will not be of much help" for Hong Kong in the next few years, as the 79-day Occupy movement taught him the need to change people's belief that democracy is only achievable under the government's rules.

Joshua was a Scholarism convenor and key player in the protests last year. He says his group is thinking about a campaign to push for "self-determination" for Hong Kong and amend its mini-constitution to achieve "genuine democracy".

The Basic Law says that when Hong Kong elects its leader by popular vote, a committee shall be responsible for nominating candidates. Scholarism and pan-democratic parties want the public to be allowed to put forward hopefuls.

"We hope that in three years, we can set up [new bodies to monitor the government] and a civil referendum system … and the long-term goal is to organise a vote to determine Hong Kong's political future after 2047," Joshua said, referring to the expiry date of Beijing's 50-year promise under the "one country, two systems" formula.

Joshua, a 19-year-old Open University student, added that in such a vote, which could be held in 2030, Hongkongers should be allowed to choose from three options: continuing "one country, two systems"; adopting the mainland's systems; or independence after 2047.

But Joshua says he is not a "pro-independence" activist because he does not think independence is the city's "only option".

Beijing has repeatedly warned against the rise of pro-independence sentiment in Hong Kong, and hinted it would not recognise any kind of "referendum".

But Joshua believes that if the new bodies that monitor the government become popular and a mature voting system can be set up, the 2030 "referendum" will put much greater pressure on the authorities.

"It is crucial the pan-democratic parties push this with us, but … I am disappointed they are still calling for the government to restart the political reform process," Joshua said.

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