High profile Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow has been released on bail following her arrest on Monday for alleged breaches of the stringent national security law imposed by Beijing.
The 23-year-old is a former leader of the pro-democracy group Demosisto, which disbanded after Beijing announced the passage of the national security law on June 30.
The national security law has given Beijing power to shape life in Hong Kong, with critics saying it has reduced the city’s autonomy and made it easier to punish protesters.
Chow was released on bail in the early hours of Wednesday morning, telling reporters that her arrest “is obviously a political prosecution and political suppression” and that is was her most terrifying arrest yet.
“It is very obvious the regime and the government is using the national security law to supress political dissidents and these kind of situations would not only happen to me, but will happen to more and more Hong Kong people in the future,” she said.
“It’s been eight years since I participated in this democratisation movement in Hong Kong. I have been arrested four times before but honestly this time, I was scared the most and it was the hardest.
“But while I was restrained, people in Hong Kong, people from Japan, and people from around the world gave me support. My lawyer told me Japanese people in Tokyo made the hashtag #FreeAgnes for me. I really got a lot of support.”
According to Chow’s official Facebook page, she was arrested under charges of “colluding with foreign forces” under the new national security law.
“According to the police, Agnes was accused of calling upon foreign countries to impose sanctions on China on her social media accounts since the enactment of the law,” the admin running her Facebook page wrote.
“Over the past month, Agnes has been tailed by unknown agents, with her home under massive surveillance. As one of her neighbours reveals, an infrared surveillance camera was installed right next to her doorsteps for weeks. Only after her arrest, the camera was removed.
“Amid this harassment and arrest, the city’s liberty is now under the deadliest blow. When Agnes is now detained at the police station, with a slim chance of bail, we hope the world can stand with Agnes, stand with Hong Kong.”
Chow was one of 10 people arrested on Monday under the national security law. Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai, who owns Next Digital, the publisher of local newspaper Apple Daily was among those arrested. He has also been released on bail.
While Chow was detained, the hashtag #FreeAgnes became the number one trend on Japanese twitter.
.@chowtingagnes is being brought to the police station now. It’s a devastating move from the Chinese govt that they want to silence the voice of resistance in Hong Kong. I urge the world to keep an eye on what’s happening.#NSL pic.twitter.com/5Y6FDWOZ8r— Nathan Law 羅冠聰 😷 (@nathanlawkc) August 10, 2020