|Banned in China!
Agnes Chow or Chow Ting (周庭) (1996–) is a Hong Kong social activist. She is a member of the Standing Committee of Demosistō (香港眾志) and a former spokesperson of Scholarism. Initially, a candidate supported by the pro-democracy camp for the 2018 Hong Kong Island by-election, she was barred from running based on her party's stance on advocating self-determination for Hong Kong.
Chow first came to spotlight in the anti-Moral and National Education movement as the spokesperson of student activist group Scholarism in 2012. At the time, she was studying at the Holy Family Canossian College and protested against the implementation of the Moral and National Education scheme, which they deemed as "brainwashing". The movement successfully drew thousands of protesters gathered in front of the Central Government Complex which led to the backdown of the government in September 2012.
Chow and other activists of Scholarism including Joshua Wong and Ivan Lam continued their involvement in social and political movements afterward, notably the 2014 Hong Kong electoral reform. Chow was one of the leaders in the class boycott campaign against the restrictive electoral framework set by the National People's Congress Standing Committee on the 2017 Chief Executive election, which led to the massive Occupy protests dubbed the "Umbrella Revolution". During the occupation, Chow announced her stepping out of politics by resigning as spokesperson of Scholarism, citing the "heavy pressure" and "extreme confusion and fatigue" she was facing.
In April 2016, Chow was among one of the founding members of Demosistō with other former student leaders in the Occupy protests and was the first deputy secretary-general of the party from 2016 to 2017. She campaigned with party chairman Nathan Law in the 2016 Legislative Council election, in which the latter was elected as the youngest member of the Legislative Council in history. In 2017, she participated in the protest during the Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping, in which they covered the Golden Bauhinia statue with banners. She was arrested along with Demosistō chairman Nathan Law and secretary-general Joshua Wong.
After Nathan Law was ejected from the Legislative Council over the oath-taking controversy in July 2017 and sentenced to imprisonment in August in the same year, which barred Law from being a candidate of public offices for 5 years, Chow became Demosistō's candidate in the 2018 Hong Kong Island by-election. In order to be qualified to stand for election, she gave up her British citizenship. On 27 January 2018, her candidacy was disqualified by the Electoral Affairs Commission on the basis of that she "cannot possibly comply with the requirements of the relevant electoral laws, since advocating or promoting 'self-determination' is contrary to the content of the declaration that the law requires a candidate to make to uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the [Hong Kong Special Administrative Region]."
Michael Davis, a former law professor of the University of Hong Kong, warned that Chow’s disqualification was wrong and the government was on a "slippery slope", while former university law dean Professor Johannes Chan Man-mun said that there was no legal basis for such a move. Basic Law Committee member Albert Chen Hung-yee said election rules were not clear if returning officers had the power to disqualify candidates based on their political views. Chief Executive Carrie Lam commented that "any suggestion of Hong Kong independence, self-determination, independence as a choice or self-autonomy is not in line with Basic Law requirements and deviates from the important principle of 'one country two systems.'" Were Chow elected, she would have been the youngest lawmaker in Hong Kong history.
Anti-Extradition Bill Movement
Chow recently traveled to Tokyo, where she urged the Japanese government to help put pressure on the Hong Kong authorities to withdraw the controversial extradition bill.
Speaking in Japanese at the Japan National Press Club during her visit in June, Chow called on Tokyo to "pay more attention to this dangerous bill", warning that it was not only Hong Kong residents who would be affected but also overseas visitors. Chow was arrested on the following Monday morning on suspicion of "inciting others to participate in an unauthorized assembly" as well as "knowingly participating in an unauthorized assembly" during protests outside police headquarters on 21 June 2019. She was arrested again on 29 August 2019 at her Tai Po home, the same day Joshua Wong was also arrested.