On Friday morning, as Hong Kong woke up, the news came in as thick as the incessant rain: Andy Chan Ho-tin, the head of the outlawed Hong KongNational party, was arrested overnight at the airport as he was about to go to Japan.
Then came the news of Joshua Wong’s arrest – one of the most famous pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong. Wong’s name became known in 2012 when, at 15, he organised the protests against the national education curriculum. The curriculum was seen as an attempt at instilling patriotism in Hong Kong’s youth, but described as “brainwashing” by Wong and his supporters. He was one of the leaders of the Umbrella Movement, in 2014 – for which he served time in jail, and is still facing a number of charges. Among the Umbrella Movement’s leaders was Agnes Chow: she, too, was arrested on Friday. Wong and Chow are the co-founders of the political party Demosisto, which, like Chan’s Hong Kong National party, is one of the organisations that emerged from the Umbrella Movement.
None of them have had a high profile in the current political strife – it is a leaderless movement that has assumed as one of its recognisable slogans Bruce Lee’s motto of “being water”: adaptable, and mobile.