Agnes Chow

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Agnes Chow
Agnes Chow on Tim Mei Avenue.jpg
Native name
周庭
Born (1996-12-03) 3 December 1996 (age 22)
NationalityHong Kong Chinese
CitizenshipBritish (until 2018)
EducationHong Kong Baptist University
OccupationStudent
Known forSpokesperson of Scholarism;
2014 Hong Kong protests
Political partyDemosistō
Agnes Chow
Chinese周庭

Agnes Chow Ting (Chinese: 周庭, born 3 December 1996) is a Hong Kong social activist. She is the member of the Standing Committee of Demosistō and 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.

Personal life[edit]

Like many social activists in Hong Kong, Chow is inspired by faith. According to Chow, her participation in social movements is affected by her Catholic religion.[1]

Chow formerly held British nationality.[2]

She speaks English, Cantonese and Japanese, the latter learned by herself.[2]

Early activism[edit]

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.[3]

Agnes Chow and Joshua Wong on 23 September 2014. They wear red blindfolds to symbolise students figuratively blinded by China's political power.

Chow and other activists of Scholarism including Joshua Wong and Ivan Lam continued their involvement in social and political movements afterwards, 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 the politics by resigning as spokesperson of Scholarism, citing the "heavy pressure" and "extreme confusion and fatigue" she was facing.[4]

Demosistō[edit]

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.[5]

Agnes Chow campaigned with Nathan Law for the 2018 Hong Kong Island by-election.

After Nathan Law was ejected from the Legislative Council over the oath-taking controversy in July 2017 and sentenced to imprisonment in August at same year, which barred Law from being candidate of public offices for 5 years, Chow became Demosistō's candidate in the 2018 Hong Kong Island by-election.[6] 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]."[7][8] 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 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.[7] 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.'"[9] Were Chow elected, she would have been the youngest lawmaker in Hong Kong history.[10]

Arrest[edit]

Chow was arrested on 29 August 2019 at her Tai Po home, the same day other Hong Kong pro-democracy figures were arrested, including Joshua Wong and Andy Chan.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Clark, Meagan (29 August 2019). "Christian pro-democracy activists arrested in Hong Kong ahead of weekend's 'leaderless' protests". Religion Unplugged. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
  2. ^ a b https://www.hongkongfp.com/2018/01/25/interview-pro-democracy-election-candidate-agnes-chow-want-vote/
  3. ^ "Study and Society". Varsity. 14 November 2013.
  4. ^ "Interview: Scholarism's Agnes Chow urges Hongkongers to adopt new solutions in fight for democracy". Hong Kong Free Press. 27 September 2015.
  5. ^ "Hong Kong police arrest democracy activists ahead of Xi Jinping visit". CNBC. 28 June 2017.
  6. ^ "周庭出戰港島補選! 「學民女神」有望成最年輕立法會議員". HK01. 10 November 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Hong Kong activist Agnes Chow banned from Legco by-election". South China Morning Post. 27 January 2018.
  8. ^ Tom Phillips, "Hong Kong authorities block pro-democracy candidate from byelection", The Guardian, 27 January 2018 (page visited on 27 January 2018).
  9. ^ Kimmy Chung, Tony Cheung, "Political storm in Hong Kong as activist Agnes Chow banned from by-election over party’s call for city’s 'self-determination'." Additional reporting by Emily Tsang. South China Morning Post. 27 January 2018. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
  10. ^ "Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow banned from March by-election." Shanghaiist on Medium. 28 January 2018. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
  11. ^ Grundy, Tom; Cheng, Kris (29 August 2019). "Hong Kong activist Agnes Chow arrested, as pro-democracy leaders rounded up". Hong Kong Free Press.
Party political offices
New title Deputy Secretary-General of Demosistō
2016–2017
Succeeded by
Chris Kwok