The Atlantic

The Death of Democracy in Hong Kong

Four years later, it’s clear that the reforms advocated by 2014’s youth-led, pro-democracy protest movement won’t take shape.
Source: Vincent Yu / AP

“You remember me!”

I couldn’t help laughing when Joshua Wong said those words to me, as I walked up to shake his hand after a small protest gathering he had helped organize broke up. It seemed a supremely strange comment to come from the mouth of the 21-year-old activist, whose face had been featured in television newscasts worldwide and had graced the cover of Time during Hong Kong’s 2014 protests.

We had met twice before this most recent brief encounter. A local historian who knew of my scholarly interest in protest movements introduced me to Joshua in 2013, when he was only 15 but already well known in the city for the leading role he had played in a successful effort to keep mainland-style

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