Three years ago, the Umbrella Movement blossomed in Hong Kong. Civil society insisted on the principles of peace and nonviolence, and exercised civil disobedience, occupying the streets of Hong Kong.

While asking for the Beijing government to keep its promise to let Hong Kong people govern Hong Kong and to allow universal suffrage for the Chief Executive elections under the Sino-British Declaration of 1984 and the “One Country, Two Systems” framework, the demonstrators were subjected to tear gas and pepper spray.

Hong Kong student activist Joshua Wong. File photo: HKFP.

Unfortunately, the Umbrella Movement was not a complete success. After experiencing 79 days of occupation, universal suffrage was still not possible for this cosmopolitan city. The road to democracy is rough: the government manipulating election results, political persecution against leaders of the Umbrella Movement, the abduction of businessmen and publishers are all threats to the autonomy that Hong Kong is supposed to enjoy.

China has become the biggest authoritarian power in the world, and continues to attack our autonomy, putting off universal suffrage and flooding the Hong Kong economic landscape with Chinese capital. Self-censorship has become dominant in the media, and Hong Kong is degrading into One Country, One System.

File photo: PH Yang.

Under Xi Jinping’s hard regime, the Beijing government is willing to do anything to suppress Hong Kong democratisation. It has extended its reach to foreign lands and foreigners in Hong Kong, in addition to Chinese citizens on Chinese soil.

According to the Malaysian government, they put Hong Kong activists onto their blacklist in accordance with the request from China, and have repatriated them back to Hong Kong.  Thai government officials have also detained me for 12 hours because of requests from China.

Within Hong Kong, we have also witnessed the kidnap of a British citizen and a Swedish citizen because they criticised the Chinese regime – this causes worry for the safety of foreign citizens living in Hong Kong. Such is the proof that China’s power is not restricted within its sovereign land. It may also threaten the peace and stability of Southeast Asia, as well as the human rights in which the Hong Kong and Japanese people believe.

Five booksellers who went missing in 2015. Photo: HKFP.

July 1st will be the 20th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong from the UK to China. It will be the first time that Xi visits Hong Kong as the national president; we believe that there will be more than 100,000 people in the streets of Hong Kong in protest, and they will be unavoidable for Xi.

We will continue to express our perseverance in the pursuit of democracy, and expose the facade of the celebrations for a peaceful China and the happy return of Hong Kong to the “motherland”. I hope to be able to bring people’s attention to, again, the question of Hong Kong’s future and her political status, with the deadline being 2047.

Joshua Wong is the secretary general of the Demosistō party and founder of student activism group Scholarism. He is best known for leading fellow students in the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement, a massive protest that demanded genuine universal suffrage in Hong Kong. He was named one of TIME magazine’s Most Influential Teens of 2014 and was nominated for TIME’s 2014 Person of the Year.