Meet the teen taking on China

Meet the teen taking on China
Student activist Joshua Wong talking on the phone on during a strike at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

He looks like any other 17-year-old, but burgers and babes are not on his agenda at the moment.

He wants to force Beijing to drop newly declared powers that allow it to exclude candidates in upcoming Hong Kong elections.

Though just a teenager, Joshua Wong leads Scholarism, one of the main groups behind Hong Kong's Occupy Central movement and he was among the first arrested by the police for participating in the protest.

After his release on Sunday, the bespectacled teen said calmly that he wanted to go home and take a shower - before heading back to the protest.

"After I go home and get cleaned up, I'll be able to fight," Joshua said.

His attitude is not the only thing that catches people's attention - his self-belief does as well.

"I hope I can have a better future and that I can have the right to choose my future in Hong Kong," Joshua told Reuters recently.

For many people, it is no surprise that Joshua has taken the lead in the protest.

After all, this was the same young student who at 15, took on Beijing and won.

When a proposal threatened to bring pro-Communist influence into Hong Kong schools in 2012, the group he founded, Scholarism, was at the forefront of a mass movement, reported the Washington Post.

When his group managed to rally 120,000 people, some of whom went on hunger strikes, to occupy government offices, the planned changes were scrapped.

Joshua's upbringing is integral to understanding what motivates him.

An infant when Hong Kong was returned to mainland China in 1997, Joshua said he moved once a year until he was eight years old.

The middle-class Christian said his father often took him to visit the less-fortunate when he was young.

"He told me that I should care for the abandoned in the city. They had not heard of the gospel, and were living solitary and hard lives," Joshua wrote, according to a 2012 article in the South China Morning Post.

This article was first published on October 03, 2014.
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