Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow was released from prison on Saturday after serving nearly seven months for her role in an unauthorized meeting during anti-government protests in the city in 2019.
The 24-year-old activist, along with her longtime activist colleague Joshua Wong, had been convicted of their involvement in an illegal rally near the police station in the Chinese-ruled city.
Wong remains in prison and the reason for Chow’s parole after being sentenced to 10 months in prison was not clear. The Custodial Institutions Service does not want to comment on individual cases.
Chow was released from the Tai Lam Correctional Institution in Tuen Mun, in Hong Kong’s New Territories district, at approximately 10:00 AM (0200 GMT) .
She did not speak to the media until she was taken in a car with friends and fellow Democratic activists.
Supporters shouted “Agnes Chow add oil,” a Cantonese expression of encouragement widely used in the protests that rocked the city.
Some supporters wore black T-shirts and yellow masks and one held a yellow umbrella, a symbol of protests in the former British colony from 2014.
Demand universal suffrage
Chow, along with Wong and Nathan Law, who has since been granted asylum in Britain, came to prominence as teenage activists during the 2014 protests to demand universal suffrage.
The three founded the democracy group Demosisto in 2016, which dissolved just hours after Beijing passed a controversial national security law for the city last year, fearing it could become the target of the legislation.
The law has suppressed the pro-democracy movement and raised concerns about the prospects for the autonomy Hong Kong was promised under a “one country, two systems” formula when it was handed over to China in 1997.
Chow was also arrested last year on suspicion of “conspiracy with foreign troops” under the security law, but has not been charged.
Speaking Japanese fluently, Chow has a significant following in Japan, particularly on social media, and had traveled to the country many times before her arrest. She often posted on Twitter in Japanese and Japanese media, calling her a “goddess of democracy”.