Joshua Wong, the Hong Kong student activist leader, who came to international prominence during the 2014 Occupy protests, announced the dissolution of his student group Scholarism over the weekend, as he prepares to lead a new group into the political arena.
Next month, Wong plans to form a new political party, along with former Scholarism spokesperson Agnes Chow Ting and several other core members, Ming Pao reports. The party will field at least two candidates in September’s Legislative Council elections, riding a wave of younger candidates, inspired by the Umbrella Movement, entering politics, threatening to kick out the established old guard.
Wong, 19, won’t be able to run himself until he turns 21.
High on the new party’s agenda will be pushing for a referendum in 10 years for Hong Kong to decide on its own future after 2047, when the 50-year promise of “one country, two systems,” finally expires.
The Hong Kong University student magazine Undergrad has already made its position known on the issue, calling for Hong Kong to declare independence in 2047 in its latest issue, The New York Times reports.
Founded in 2011 by Wong when he was just a secondary school student, Scholarism made its name locally in 2012 by protesting the government’s national education curriculum; and then made its name globally by helping to kickstart the Occupy protests of 2014, launching Wong himself into the international spotlight.
However, its leaders now say that its political work made it difficult for the organization to carry out its work with student movements, and a change had to be made.
“I managed to conduct sharing in some 30 schools after I finished the public exams, but after the umbrella movement I have been [invited] by only one or two schools, with one being besieged by Beijing-friendly protesters and the other cancelling the sharing session after the incident,” Wong said on Sunday, via SCMP.
In six months time, Scholarism will be replaced by a new, “less politicized” student group to be led by Price Wong Ji-yuet, that will focus on student issues and civic education, while Wong’s new party handles the politics.
One of the main issues now that Scholarism has suddenly disbanded is what the group will do with the HK$1.45 million in donations it has collected. Leaders said that the current plan is to set aside HK$700,000 to form the new student group, while the rest goes into a fund for legal assistance.
Watch the announcement here: