Agnes Chow, a Hong Kong pro-democracy activist, was released on Saturday after spent more than six months in prison for participating in unlicensed gatherings during large anti-government rallies in 2019 that precipitated a crackdown on dissent in the former British territory.
As Chow, 24, walked out of the Tai Lam Center for Women, she was hailed by a mob of journalists. She moved from a jail vehicle to a private automobile without saying anything. Only a tiny handful of supporters were there, an apparent reflection of the government’s threats to imprison any found to be in breach of a broad national security law placed on the territory a year ago.
Leading democratic campaigners, including Joshua Wong and Jimmy Lai, have been arrested and are serving prison sentences as a result of the legislation. Others have sought asylum in other countries. According to critics, China is now frequently violating agreements made to Hong Kong to protect freedoms pledged for 50 years following the transfer to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.
Chow rose to attention as a student during the 2014 “umbrella movement” for universal suffrage, with Wong and Nathan Law, who was given political asylum in the United Kingdom in April.
She has a significant following in Japan, where she frequently visits and tweets in fluent Japanese.