(Bloomberg) — A prominent Hong Kong activist accused of violating a national security law said she had left for Canada and planned to effectively go into self-imposed exile, a move denounced by the city’s authorities.
Agnes Chow, a prominent former leader of Hong Kong’s crushed pro-democracy movement, said on social media on Sunday she wouldn’t come back to the city after leaving for Toronto to pursue her studies.
“After careful consideration, taking into account the situation in Hong Kong, my own safety and my physical and mental health, I’ve decided not to report back. I probably will never go back,” Chow said in an Instagram post on Sunday.
In an interview with TV Tokyo on Monday, Chow said she was seeking asylum in Canada.
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Chow, 27, was arrested in 2020 for allegedly colluding with foreign forces after Beijing cracked down on the political opposition with an expansive national security law. She was released on bail, and in September police returned her passport with the condition that she report to the Hong Kong authorities this month, she said on social media.
In a statement on Monday, Hong Kong police called on Chow to return so that she wouldn’t be a “fugitive.”
In July, Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee pledged to pursue eight other democracy activists for life after they fled abroad to evade national security charges, one day after authorities put a HK$1,000,000 ($127,960) bounty on each.
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