June 17 (UPI) — Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong has been released from prison and has vowed to join ongoing protests demanding that the head of the island’s government resign.
Wong, 22, was released Monday after serving a two-month jail sentence in connection to the 2014 protests that rocked the island demanding more civil power from China to choose its own political leaders.
Wong was sentenced to three months in January 2018 but was released on bail later that month. He was again arrested in mid-May following a failed appeal, but the judge shortened his sentence from three to two months, Hong Kong Free Press reported.
Wong, along with 19 others, was charged with contempt of court, to which he pleaded guilty.
“Hello world and hello freedom,” Wong said on Twitter. “I have just been released from prison. GO HONG KONG!! Withdraw the extradition bill. Carrie Lam, step down. Drop all political prosecutions!”
Hello world and hello freedom. I have just been released from prison. GO HONG KONG!! Withdraw the extradition bill. Carrie Lam step down. Drop all political prosecutions!— Joshua Wong 黃之鋒 (@joshuawongcf) June 17, 2019
His release comes as Hong Kong has been resubmerged in protests over an extradition bill that would allow for some criminals to be extradited to mainland China to face courts there.
The former British colony has been allowed its own local institutions under a “one country, two systems” arrangement with China and protesters see the law as a further whittling away of the island’s democracy by Beijing while supporters say it will prevent the island from being a haven for Chinese criminals.
Protests erupted June 9 and have continued despite Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announcing Saturday that the bill had been halted.
Protesters are now demanding she resign and for the bill to be withdrawn.
Wong told reporters after his release that he was thankful for the 2 million people who marched Saturday and the 1 million people who marched the week before.
“We demand Carrie Lam step down, retract the extradition bill and withdraw the labelling of ‘riot,’” he said in response to Lam and police officials who have described the protests as riots. “Stop arresting and charging protesters — otherwise Hong Kong people will fight back more.”