Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong has officially entered the city’s September 6 legislative election. On July 20, Wong completed the paperwork and spoke to journalists. The Associated Press and Reuters quoted the 23-year-old activist as acknowledging the risks he was taking, including the possibility of being imprisoned for life in Communist-controlled mainland China.

The news services recalled that Wong had recently received strong support in an unofficial primary election for seats in the city's 70-member legislature. Reuters characterized Wong as one of the “more confrontational” pro-democracy leaders.

A History of activism in Hong Kong

In 2014, Wong played a leading role in pro-democracy demonstrations, and this activity led to him being jailed more than once, according to the Associated Press. Although he was a highly visible leader in the 2014 Umbrella Movement, Wong did not play a prominent role in last year's protests, Reuters noted. Wong has remained in Hong Kong, unlike fellow pro-democracy campaigner Nathan Law who immigrated to the UK soon after China enacted the new national security law for Hong Kong on June 30, the Associated Press said.

Last year, Wong tried unsuccessfully to run in the city's district council elections but was stopped when the authorities claimed his calls for the former British colony's right to self-determination were illegal, Reuters recalled.

Hong Kong Under the National Security Law

The new national security law does not allow an elected office to be occupied by anyone with a criminal conviction of undermining the country’s security, according to the Associated Press.

The law also states that those who commit actions aimed at fostering subversion, secession, or terrorism can be sentenced to life imprisonment, Reuters noted.

The Associated Press observed there were suspicions that the law would be used to stop pro-democracy candidates from participating in the election. Reuters reported that Wong viewed himself as an intended victim of the new law.

Nathan Law lost his seat in the city's legislature three years ago because a court ruled that he had not fulfilled the legal obligation to promise loyalty to the government of mainland China, the Associated Post recalled. Reuters said Wong did not sign a written pledge to respect Hong Kong's Basic Law.

Representing Hong Kong abroad

During trips to Europe and North America, Wong has represented the city’s pro-democracy forces in meetings with political leaders, the Associated Press and Reuters noted. Videos of his remarks to US senators and members of the Oxford Union can be viewed online. This year, Wong has published his call to action, "Unfree Speech: The Threat to Global Democracy and Why We Must Act, Now." It is available at online bookstores.