Student activist Joshua Wong Chi-fung says the new political party he and fellow Scholarism leaders are to set up next month will position itself “somewhere in between” “extreme radical” and “moderate”. Amid a rising tide of pro-independence localism in the city, Wong said his new party would push for a referendum to let the people choose the way they wanted Hong Kong to advance, instead of simply promoting independence. “Whether we should continue adopting ‘one country, two systems’ or go independent, it is important that Hong Kong people should make a choice on their own. If we do not decide it ourselves, Beijing will decide it for us,” said Wong, spelling out more of his ideas about the new party in an interview with DBC on Thursday. READ MORE: Running man: Occupy leader Joshua Wong launches court fight for right to run from Hong Kong legislature below age 21 He also tried to distance himself from radical localists and said they would not use violence in the pursuit of their goals. Professor Larry Diamond, one of the world’s leading scholars on democracy who was visiting the city, meanwhile, said the rise of localism “has the potential to bring big tragedy to Hong Kong” as it could obstruct the democratic camp’s appeal to moderate voters. “They are not morally wrong but practically damaging,” said Diamond, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, addressing a seminar at City University on Thursday. He said the pan-democrats should marginalise the hardliners and secure the widest support base possible. Diamond, however, said the Chinese Communist Party regime was going down and that pro-democracy forces in Hong Kong should get prepared. That included producing short videos and materials promoting the importance of democracy and rule of law to mainland Chinese audiences as well as forging more dialogue with civil society groups across the border. READ MORE: We don’t need another Occupy: Joshua Wong reveals new approach and plan for referendum on Hong Kong’s post-2047 future “It is not what China can do for Hong Kong but what Hong Kong can do to advance democratisation in China,” Diamond said. Wong expressed similar views and stressed that Beijing could not ignore the views of Hong Kong people if their voice was loud enough. Based on his experience in Scholarism, Wong said: “Half of our supporters are also traditional pan-democrat supporters, while half are young people. I would say we have a wide support base. “I would not say we would position [the new party] as extreme radical, nor would we position it as a conventional moderate. We shall be somewhere in between.” He would not discuss the source of party funding or whether Scholarism would be disbanded. But he promised they would not give up their work with secondary school pupils. Rumours were rampant in recent days that Scholarism would fold after Wong set up the party. Scholarism still has HK$1.5 million cash in hand, raising concerns among some of its supporters over how the money would be handled if the group disbanded. Wong declined to say if part of the money would be used to set up the party, only saying: “We shall not let our supporters down in terms of the use of their donations.” Founded in 2011, Scholarism played a major role in the 2012 protests against the government plan to introduce national education in schools. The group was also a core player in the Occupy protests in 2014. Wong has served as convenor of Scholarism and been its figurehead.