Politics

Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow to settle in Canada

Hong Kong, Dec 4 (EFE).- Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow has moved to Canada and plans to never return to the city, despite having to appear before the police this month as part of the national security investigation against her.

“I was scheduled to return to Hong Kong at the end of December to appear before the police, but after careful consideration, taking into account my integrity and my physical and mental health, I have decided not to return,” she posted on social media Sunday.

Agnes, co-founder of the now-disbanded political party Demosisto along with activists Joshua Wong and Nathan Law, was one of the best-known faces of the protest movements of 2012, 2014, and 2019 against Beijing’s increasing control over Hong Kong.

She was arrested in November 2020 on the same day national security agents detained media mogul Jimmy Lai and two other activists, over an alleged conspiracy to collude with foreign forces.

Agnes spent about seven months in prison for her participation in a massive protest outside the city’s police headquarters in 2019, the biggest challenge to the Chinese government since the return of Hong Kong to China from the British in 1997.

On Sunday, her 27 birthday, Agnes shared two posts on Instagram in which she broke her silence since her release in June 2021 which came with conditions including the confiscation of her passport.

Five national security officers accompanied her in August to the southeastern Chinese city of Shenzhen, where she visited a political exhibition on China’s achievements and the headquarters of tech company Tencent, according to her post.

“During the entire trip, although I didn’t meet any party officials…I felt that I had been under surveillance all the time,” she said.

After the trip,the activist said she was asked to write a letter thanking the police for making arrangements so that she could “understand the great development of my motherland.”

Agnes pointed out that although she initially bought a return ticket to the semi-autonomous city, she ultimately decided to stay in Canada for fear that the police would impose additional conditions upon her return.

“I don’t want to be forced to do things I don’t want to do and if this goes on, my body and mind will collapse,” she added.

Chow also described how she has come to appreciate the value of “freedom without fear” in recent years.

“Now that I no longer have to worry about new arrests, I can finally say what I want to say and do what I want,” she added.

Agnes received her passport in mid-September, one day before she left for Canada, where she is pursuing her masters in Toronto, according to her post.

Currently, Hong Kong is looking for eight former lawyers and activists, residing in countries such as Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States and under investigation for “collusion with foreign forces” or inciting secession and subversion.

The city’s police has offered a reward of HK$1 million ($127,979) in exchange for information leading to their arrest.

Among them are lawyer Kevin Yam, an Australian citizen, and former legislator Ted Hui, who also currently resides in Australia.

In June 2020, Beijing introduced the national security law directly into Hong Kong’s mini-constitution – bypassing the local legislature – after a year of anti-government protests and unrest.

The law criminalizes subversion, secession, collusion with foreign forces, and terrorist acts, which were defined broadly to include disruption of transportation and other infrastructure.

For their part, the authorities of the former British colony claim that the regulations have returned stability and peace to the city. EFE

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