The Umbrella Movement’s poster boy could be giving a talk on the pro-democracy campaign—8,000 miles away from Hong Kong.
Joshua Wong, the leader of Scholarism and most prominent face of the 79-day long student-led Occupy protests in Hong Kong, is headed to University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) on Feb. 23 on the invitation of Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports.
The 18-year-old college student will speak in a seminar entitled, “Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement in Regional Perspective,” along with Yu Au-loong, a Hong Kong activist, and Wu Jieh-min, a researcher at Academia Sinica, a Taiwan academic institution.
According to the UCLA’s Center for Chinese website, the three-hour seminar will start at 2:00 p.m. Pacific time. Wong, Yu, and Wu and listed as speakers, and will discuss the “causes, claims, and demands of the Hong Kong demonstrations,” as well as “describe other movements that are concurrent and in solidarity with the goals of the Hong Kong activists.”
On the same day in UCLA, Wong will supposedly also attend the screening of a documentary on the 2012 National Education protests, “Lessons in Dissent,” and hold a question and answer session after the screening, RFA claims. At the time of writing, however, the UCLA website only states that the film’s director, Matthew Torne, will hold the Q&A.
Wong, one of TIME magazine’s Most Influential Teens of 2014, first rose to prominence as a 15-year-old school boy during the 2012 campaign, where protesters slammed the National Education curriculum as a Chinese Communist Party brainwashing ploy.
In 2014, Wong indirectly triggered the Occupy protests after people gathered in Admiralty on Sept. 28 to protest his and other students’ being detained for 48-hours without charge for seizing a courtyard in government headquarters. Police fired tear gas into the crowd, angering the public and kick-starting the street occupation.
After his release, Wong remained in the spotlight, impressing the public and international press with his maturity, and his moderate, rational statements on democratic reform in Hong Kong.
It is unclear if Wong will actually be in California though.
RFA called Wong to verify his presence at the seminar, but he said it wasn’t a good time to talk because he was “running a 103 degree fever.” Interestingly, the teen did upload a picture of flu medication to his official Facebook page on Wednesday.
Hong Kong Federation of Student deputy secretary-general Lester Shum, who frequently shared the main protest stage at the Admiralty Occupy site with Wong and was later arrested with him during a police clearance of Mong Kok, was also unable to confirm Wong’s attendance.
Shum, 22, told RFA that he “never heard” that Wong was going to America, and that the Federation of Students and Scholarism have not received any invites.