Hong Kong student activist Joshua Wong was released from prison on Monday morning after serving almost five weeks in prison for contempt of court, South China Morning Post reported. In the afternoon, he joined the protests against a controversial extradition bill, amid resounding applause from a crowd of demonstrators, outside the Legislative Council.
Wong was one of the main leaders of the 2014 Umbrella pro-democracy protests. Before being imprisoned, he had strongly advocated against the extradition proposal.
“Through these protests, we tell the whole world that Hong Kong people won’t be silent under the suppression of President Xi Jinping and [Hong Kong leader] Carrie Lam,” South China Morning Post quoted him as saying. “Even now she is still brazen-faced.” Wong posted a tweet calling for Lam’s resignation after his release.
Violent clashes erupted in Hong Kong on June 12 against the extradition bill. Many are concerned that the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation [Amendment] Bill, 2019, proposed by the region’s government, would cause the city to open itself to Chinese law. Critics believe it will threaten the rule of law that forms the basis of Hong Kong’s financial status.
On Saturday, Carrie Lam announced that the bill was going to be indefinitely delayed. However, demonstrations were carried out even on Sunday after the announcement as protestors called for the complete withdrawal of the bill. Reports suggest that over one million protestors had gathered on the streets of Hong Kong to march to government offices. The protests are one of the most challenging aspects of China’s relationship with the territory that was given back by the British 22 years ago.