Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower

2016, 78 minutes

Stirring documentary about a group of teenagers from Hong Kong who challenge China during the Umbrella Revolution. As China slowly but surely restricts civil and political freedoms in Hong Kong, the people take to the streets in overwhelming numbers. Led by 17-year-old Joshua Wong, the protesters encounter the authorities in an epic stand-off.

What happens when a 17-year-old schoolboy from Hong Kong decides it’s time to stand up to communist China? When that schoolboy is Joshua Wong, the authorities better buckle up.

When the British handed over Hong Kong to China after 150 years of colonial rule, a principle of ‘one country, two systems’ was agreed: Hong Kong would maintain a large degree of autonomy from China, keeping its rights and freedoms. But when China backtracks on its promises, Joshua Wong takes to the streets to protest. First on his own, but when his student organization Scholarism gathers increasing attention through social media, more and more people join.

The students get the authorities to withdraw their plans for repressive educational reforms. But then China insists on taking control of the electoral system, and this time, China put its foot down. The result is an epic stand-off between the authorities and the people of Hong Kong, with a teenager at the center of the action.


Activism and human rights defenders, Democracy and politics, Freedom of speech and expression, Media and digital culture
Suitable for
havo/vwo - bovenbouw
mbo - niveau 1 & 2
mbo - niveau 3 & 4
vmbo b/k - leerjaar 3 & 4
vmbo t - leerjaar 3 & 4
Joe Piscatella
Country of production
United States
78 minutes