Responding to the disqualification of a dozen pro-democracy candidates from participating in a key election, pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong said that it is not the time to give up and surrender. He released an online statement condemning the unilateral decision.

“Beijing has staged the largest-ever assault on the city’s remaining free election, with pro-democracy candidates across spectrum disqualified,” Joshua said. He also said that police brutality and National Security Law cannot suppress the voices of dissent.

He remarked that the Hong Kong elections have never been free and fair since 2016. Wong was disqualified in the 2016 HK elections as well. “Excuses used to rule my nomination this time are proved invalid and ridiculous,” he said.

He called the recently imposed National Security law, a legal weapon used against dissidents. “Our resistance will continue on and we hope the world can stand with us in the upcoming uphill battle,” he wrote.

On Thursday, Hong Kong had barred the candidacy of a dozen pro-democracy candidates including Joshua Wong from the legislative council elections due in September. More are expected to be barred in the coming days. The reasons for disqualification as specified by the government include collusion with foreign forces and opposition to the new China-imposed national security laws.

Despite the action, the Hong Kong government under Carrie Lam claimed that they are not curbing political dissent.