VOX POPULI: Political activist Agnes Chow speaks freely in Canada

It was raining heavily in the Ikebukuro district of Tokyo when I met Chow Ting, now 27, upon her arrival from Hong Kong in June 2019.

She is better known in the West as Agnes Chow.

Chow’s bangs were soaked from the rain and stuck to his forehead. This bothered her and she continued to play with her hair while holding a hand mirror.

This may sound strange, but it made her seem so “ordinary” that I felt like it didn’t quite fit her public persona as a high-profile pro-democracy activist.

But she said: “(China) is scary. I rebel because I am afraid. I remember his surprisingly harsh tone very well.

Four years have passed since then, during which she has been arrested twice in Hong Kong. And after a long silence, she posted on social media on December 3 that she had moved to Canada in September.

The decision should not have been easy. She wrote: “I have decided not to return (to Hong Kong) and will probably never return there for the rest of my life. »

She had to endure a great test during the rapid transformation of Hong Kong under Chinese rule.

To get her passport back, she recalls, she had to travel across mainland China. There, accompanied by five police officers, she was taken to political exhibitions promoting the Chinese Communist Party.

And when she returned to Hong Kong, she was forced to write a letter of thanks to the authorities.

These coercive arrangements reflect a lack of respect for a person’s feelings.

What must not be forgotten is that in Hong Kong, people who sought democracy are still silenced and oppressed, and many of them are in prison.

“I won’t be forced to do things I no longer want to do,” Chow wrote. And now that she has left Hong Kong, she continues: “I can finally say what I want to say. »

I feel with sadness the weight of his words.

-Asahi Shimbun, December 7

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Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a popular daily column covering a wide range of topics, including culture, art and social trends and developments. Written by veteran Asahi Shimbun writers, the column provides useful perspectives and insights into contemporary Japan and its culture.

Adele Matthews

"Passionate pop cultureaholic. Proud bacon trailblazer. Avid analyst. Certified reader."

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