Hong Kong activist Agnes Chow flees bail, rejects return


News Team

Agnes Chow, a prominent Hong Kong activist who played a leading role in the 2019 antigovernment protests, has announced that she will not be returning to the city due to fears for her safety. Chow, 27, was arrested in 2020 and received a 10-month jail sentence for participating in an unauthorized assembly under Beijing’s national security law, imposed by China in response to the widespread demonstrations the previous year.

Chow, who has been studying in Canada, announced in a social media post on Sunday night that she will not meet bail conditions requiring her return. She was released on bail in 2021, after spending more than six months in jail, on the condition she check in with police regularly. However, Chow said in her post that she will no longer respect the requirement.

In her post, Chow mentioned that she has been dealing with emotional illnesses that have put her body and mind in a very unstable state. She also revealed that it was only this year, after she was accepted by a university in Toronto, that the police agreed to return her passport if she traveled to the Chinese city of Shenzhen. The trip included visits to Chinese tech major Tencent and a “patriotic” exhibition on China’s achievements.

Chow co-founded the now-defunct pro-democracy party Demosisto with fellow activists Joshua Wong and Nathan Law. However, the party was disbanded on June 30, 2020, the same day the national security law was enacted. The enactment of the law has intensified the challenges for the pro-democracy movement, resulting in more than 280 arrests. Joshua Wong is currently in custody, facing a subversion charge that carries the possibility of life imprisonment upon conviction. Nathan Law sought refuge in the United Kingdom, and a reward of 1 million Hong Kong dollars ($127,600) was offered by the police in July for information leading to his apprehension.

In a statement issued on Monday, Hong Kong police condemned Chow for “challenging the rule of law” and urged her to pull back before it’s too late. Beijing contends that the law has restored stability to Hong Kong following the extensive pro-democracy protests in 2019.

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