China's prosecution body has branded a Hong Kong teenage activist an "American-led Western power" in an online video aimed at warning people against participating in uprisings and dissident movements against the country. Student leader Joshua Wong is cast in the video as a pro-independence advocate being backed by the United States.
Wong became famous across the globe at the age of 15 after forcing the Hong Kong government to end a pro-China education scheme in schools. The video, released by the Supreme People's Procuratorate on 1 August is captioned: "American-led Western power".
However, Wong, who is now 19, has dismissed the assertions made in the video and continued to insist that he has never advocated for Hong Kong independence from China. On 20 July, Wong was found guilty of "illegal assembly" by a court in Hong Kong and convicted of unlawfully entering a fenced-off area outside government headquarters on 26 September 2014.
The video shows refugees from Central Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe being subject to horrific conditions, while contrasting it with images of a strong and stable China. According to Reuters, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang have been portrayed as dissident activists who are "damaging China's internal stability and harmony by hook or by crook".
Wong's actions in 2014 contributed to the beginning of a 79-day street occupation that was dubbed Hong Kong's "Umbrella Movement". It has since been referred to as the biggest resistance to China since the Tiananmen democracy movement of 1989, which was also triggered by student leaders and were largely self-driven.
Amnesty International has condemned the guilty verdicts against the Umbrella Movement protesters, stating that it sends a "chilling warning" for freedom of expression and peaceful assembly in Hong Kong. Wong has said that he does not regret what he did and has vowed to continue fighting for democracy in Hong Kong.
Mabel Au, Amnesty's director in Hong Kong, told the Guardian: "The prosecution of student leaders on vague charges smacks of political payback by the authorities. The continued prosecution of prominent figures of the Umbrella Movement is a blow to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly in Hong Kong."