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Joshua Wong, the poster boy for Hong Kong protests

Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong leaves the Lai Chi Kok Correctional Institute Image copyright EPA
Image caption Joshua Wong became the face of a 2014 protest movement in Hong Kong

He first rose to prominence as the face of a protest movement that swept Hong Kong in 2014.

But Joshua Wong wants the world to know he's not gone away. Earlier this month, the pro-democracy activist made a reappearance at the 2019 anti-extradition bill rallies in Hong Kong after an early release from jail.

But who exactly is this 23-year-old that's become a poster child for political activism?

Dyslexia and dissent

Born as a dyslexic child with reading and writing difficulties, Mr Wong overcame these obstacles, with the help of his mother, to enrol in a Political Science and Public Administration degree at an open university.

But his activism started when he was just 14 - demonstrating against plans to build a high-speed rail link between Hong Kong and the mainland.

Two years later, he had set up the then pro-democracy student activist group Scholarism, successfully challenged the government and was firmly in the limelight.

In 2012 he rallied more than 100,000 people to protest against Hong Kong's plans to implement mandatory "patriotic education" in schools.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Joshua Wong's political activism started when he was just a young teenager

Faced with the sheer size of the crowds, a few of whom went on hunger strike, then-Chief Executive CY Leung was forced to abandon the idea. It was his first run-in with Mr Wong.

By 2014 his profile was so high, Joshua Wong held a press conference to announce his university entrance exam results.

Mr Wong told reporters the whole event made him "uncomfortable".

The Umbrella movement

Though he was only eight months old when Hong Kong's sovereignty was handed to China by the UK, Joshua Wong remains passionate about addressing the strictures Beijing has imposed on his home.

In late September 2014, Mr Wong led protesters in occupying a forecourt outside government headquarters.

The next day more than 60 were arrested, among them Mr Wong, who was held for 40 hours. His arrest galvanised the flagging demonstrators and tens of thousands flocked to the area to join the cause.

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Image caption It was in 2014 when Joshua Wong really made his name as a pro-democracy activist

It was these protests - commonly referred to as the Umbrella Movement - that really thrust him into the limelight and cemented his role as a pro-democracy activist.

But even then Mr Wong questioned his new status as protest leader. In an essay posted on his Facebook page (in Chinese) he wrote: "Many citizens have said to me that 'Hong Kong relies on you.'"

"I feel uncomfortable and even irritated when I hear this praise. When you were suffering pepper spray and tear gas but decided to stay for the protest despite the repression from the government, I was not able to do anything other than stare at a meal box and the blank walls of the detention room and feel powerless."

Mr Wong was eventually jailed for his role in the Umbrella Movement.

After a short stint in prison following a series of appeals, he was released in June this year - in time to join the 2019 protests in Hong Kong against a controversial extradition bill that would allow suspects to be extradited to mainland China.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Joshua Wong joined the 2019 protests shortly after his release from jail

He joined thousands of people who hit the streets in protests, saying he was ready to "join the fight" against the extradition bill.

Blue Paper

Born into a middle-class family to parents Grace and Roger, Mr Wong has said his family taught him about social injustice but are far from radical.

But fellow activist Nathan Law, who went on to establish pro-democracy party Demosisto with Mr Wong and others, said there was a rift between Mr Wong and his father.

"Joshua comes from a very religious family background and is known to be Christian. His father [who is a]... vocal anti LGBT activist... on several occasions he has directly spoken out against his father's position," Mr Law told the BBC's Radio 4.

"But otherwise his father is very supportive of his activism."

According to Mr Law, who met Mr Wong during the 2014 protests, the latter was mature even from a young age.

"He was really young [when we met] but I could feel maturity from him and how experienced he [was] in terms of social movements. We always described Joshua as a robot because he [works] from early morning to late [at] night," he said.

"He has unlimited energy and he can always make people feel energetic and hopeful."

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