The baby face and broad smile give Chan Ho-tin the look of a young, energetic boy-next-door. At first sight, it is difficult to imagine him as the radical leader of a political party pushing for Hong Kong independence. The 25-year-old convenor of the Hong Kong National Party says he was largely apolitical in the past. “I never took part in the July 1 march, nor have I taken part in the June 4 events,” says Chan, “To me, these are rituals, serving no practical purpose. Marching is too exhausting for me.” He used to be a “keyboard warrior” – someone who conceals his true identity but vents his anger by making aggressive posts on the internet. If we can make Hong Kong an independent state by singing songs, I would sing songs Chan Ho-tin He had his first taste of a real protest in September 2014 when he joined the Occupy campaign after seeing police use tear gas against student protesters. “As a Hong Kong citizen, I should stand up to defend fellow Hong Kong people. That was what I thought,” Chan recalls. “When you saw that Beijing did not back down even when so many people came out [to occupy the streets], then you know going independent is the only way out. “I am not anti-China, but I do not think Hong Kong should be part of China, whether it is ruled by the Communist, the Nationalist, or Democratic Progressive Party. I am not pro-Britain, either. The last thing I want to see is that Hong Kong returns to British colonial rule.” Hong Kong National Party delegation to meet Taiwan independence advocates He says he would use whatever effective means to make Hong Kong an independent nation. “If we can make Hong Kong an independent state by singing songs, I would sing songs,” says Chan, laughing off criticism that his party is too radical and violent. Born in 1990, Chan graduated last year from Hong Kong Polytechnic University with a double degree in marketing and industrial and system engineering. He started catching media attention last year after leading a concern group that pushed for the withdrawal of the university’s student union from the Hong Kong Federation of Students. He is also a member of a student group, Common Sense, which used to hold open forums on current affairs in Mong Kok on weekends. Chan was also a host of a current affairs programme at the online My Radio, which has close ties with radical localist group Civic Passion. His next plan is to run in the Legislative Council elections in September. “If a candidate who calls for Hong Kong independence is elected, I think it will make headlines even in overseas papers,” he says.