Agnes Chow was one of the handful of Hong Kong pro-democracy activists and media figures arrested on Monday night, Aug. 10, under Hong Kong's new national security law imposed by Beijing, and was charged for allegedly "colluding with foreign forces".
Arrest of Hong Kong activists triggered outpouring of online support
While Chow is currently released on bail, if convicted, she could face a life sentence, BBC reported.
Her arrest triggered an outpouring of support, with many online users nicknaming her "the real Mulan".
Internet users called for her release, trending the #FreeAgnes hashtag on social media.
Agnes’ arrest is more impactful than Jimmy Lai’s for many, as we watched her grow up. She met @joshuawongcf at a Scholarism meet for the first time in 2012. She was 15 then, and sat shyly in a corner. I hope she knows she is inspiring many of us to care about HK too. #FreeAgnes https://t.co/XhsF5kXDia pic.twitter.com/okvIbIqEUu— Karen Tse (@ktse852) August 12, 2020
Support for Chow viral in Japan
Soon after the news of Chow's arrest spread, the call for her release went international, with people in Japan campaigning online to show their support for the activist.
On Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 11, the hashtag #FreeAgnes trended in Japan, with more than 60 per cent of tweets with the hashtag coming from Japan.
Chow, who is fluent in Japanese and has appeared on TV programmes in Japan, is dubbed the "goddess of democracy" by Japanese media, according to South China Morning Post.
Japanese politician Akihisa Nagashima expressed solidarity for the activists arrested under the new law, saying in a tweet that the detention was "an illegal arrest".
Comparison with Mulan
Mulan is an ancient Chinese legend featuring a young woman who disguised herself as a man to join the army in her father's stead, saving her country in the process.
The legend was popularised internationally due to Disney's animated movie "Mulan", with a live-action remake of the film to be released in 2020.
The titular role will be played by Chinese-American actress Liu Yifei, who came under fire for voicing support for the Hong Kong police at the peak of the Hong Kong protests in 2019.
A group of online users took to Twitter to slam the actress, as many rallied to boycott the movie.
Following the arrest of Chow, many users drew comparisons between Chow and Liu, calling Chow "the real Mulan".
#LiuYifei is a selfish #CCP shill who supports #PoliceBrutality in #HongKong#AgnesChow has given everything to #FightForFreedom and defend her people— James Lee Proudfoot (@PhilosophyNook) August 11, 2020
So who is really loyal brave and true?
No wonder many #HongKongers are calling Agnes the real #Mulan#FreeAgnes #BoycottMulan pic.twitter.com/EGPh4IhD3M
Memes began popping up on social media in support of Chow, applauding her for her bravery.
In 2018, Chow gave up her British citizenship and deferred her university finals to run in the local elections in Hong Kong, but her nomination was rejected on the basis of her support for Hong Kong's "self-determination", BBC reported.
Along with other prominent activists including Joshua Wong and Andy Chan, Chow was arrested in August 2019 at the peak of the 2019 Hong Kong protests for allegedly participating in and inciting an unauthorised assembly at the Hong Kong police headquarters in June 2019.
Activists arrested under controversial security law
Chow was among 10 people arrested on Aug. 10 under the new security law imposed by Beijing.
Besides Chow, another notable figure, Jimmy Lai, was among those arrested as well.
Lai, 72, the founder of Hong Kong tabloid Apple Daily, was arrested on the suspicion of collusion with a foreign country, uttering seditious words, and conspiracy to defraud.
Estimated to be worth upwards of US$1 billion (S$1.37 billion), Lai and Apple Daily have been frequent critics of Hong Kong and Beijing.
Apple Daily published a Facebook live stream of around 200 police officers raiding their office.
In clear defiance to the Hong Kong government, Apple Daily supporters started queuing up from as early as 2am to mass purchase Apple Daily newspapers.
They also showed their support by piling on Apple Daily shares, causing the paper's parent company Next Digital's stock price shares to skyrocket by 1,100 per cent within two days after Lai's arrest.
Lai was released on bail on Wednesday midnight, after over 40 hours in detainment.
”Fight on, let's fight on," @JimmyLaiApple said to @appledaily_hk staff. "We have Hong Kong people's support. We can't let them down."— Xinqi Su 蘇昕琪 (@XinqiSu) August 12, 2020
Last but not least he joked, "luckily I was not sent back to mainland China." pic.twitter.com/plXZpf8zxz
Top image adapted via @chowtingagnes/IG & Walt Disney Company