Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong has been released from prison, telling reporters that Chief Executive Carrie Lam must resign amid mass protests over the controversial extradition law.

Wong served the remaining part of his two months sentence, as he completed part of it last year before being bailed pending an appeal. He was jailed again on May 16.

The Demosisto activist was among several protesters who failed to comply with an injunction to clear the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement protest camp in Mong Kok in 2014. He and 19 others were charged with contempt of court, to which Wong pleaded guilty.

Joshua Wong
Joshua Wong (left). Photo: Nathan Law.

When Wong was in prison, mass protests took place across the city against the controversial extradition bill. On June 9, organisers said a million marched in opposition to the proposal, and – on Sunday – organisers said close to two million people protested.

Following violent clashes last Wednesday that forced the Legislative Council to postpone its meetings three days in a row, the government announced the suspension of the bill on Saturday.

On Monday, Wong said that he had finally completed his sentences in relation to the 2014 Occupy protests: “I thank the two million people who marched yesterday, and the one million people last week, and those Hong Kong people on the frontlines defending violent attacks by the police on June 12,” he said. 

“We demand Carrie Lam step down, retract the extradition bill, and withdraw the labelling of ‘riot’,” he added. “Stop arresting and charging protesters – otherwise Hong Kong people will fight back more.”

“Hong Kong people will not bow down to the authoritarian regime.”

protest china extradition

Lam, and police chief Stephen Lo, characterised Wednesday’s unrest as a “riot,” meaning participants could face a decade behind bars.

Wong said he expects more people to come out and demonstrate in the coming weeks, if Lam does not step down: “How can Carrie Lam still be here? I cannot understand.”

He added that he had to read up on the news, as it was difficult to get some information from prison.

Hong Kong proposed legal amendments in February to allow the city to handle case-by-case extradition requests from jurisdictions with no prior agreements, most notably China and Taiwan.

The bill would enable the chief executive and local courts to handle extradition requests without legislative oversight, although lawyersjournalistsforeign politicians and businesses have raised concerns over the risk of residents being extradited to the mainland, which lacks human rights protections.

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Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.