The city of Hong Kong has been roiled by protests this summer. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have occupied the city’s streets, government buildings and even the main airport. All departing flights were canceled on Monday, putting travel at a standstill.
Young people are at the forefront of Hong Kong’s protest movement. Many of the most prominent opposition leaders are still in their 20s, but they’re demanding big changes that could alter the future of their entire generation.
These are the issues they’re calling attention to:
Hong Kong’s protests were sparked in June by a proposed bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China. Opponents of the bill feared it was a sign of the Communist Party’s growing influence over Hong Kong, which is designated as a Special Administrative Region of China that operates largely independently.
Although Hong Kong’s government suspended the bill in response to the widespread backlash, the protests have continued. Demonstrators have harnessed the momentum to advocate for greater democratic freedoms overall.
Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow, both 22, and Nathan Law, 26, are three of the leaders of Demosisto, a pro-democracy youth activist group in Hong Kong that has been on the front lines of the protests. Wong and Law were among several people sentenced to jail in 2017 for their role in the Umbrella Movement, another wave of pro-democracy protests in 2014 led in large part by college students. But they haven’t let their previous run-ins with the law stop them from supporting this summer’s protests.
“What kind of young people does Hong Kong produce? Smart, efficient, attentive and freedom-loving,” Wong tweeted after protesters stormed the city’s legislative headquarters. “I am proud of them.”