Agnes Chow, a 23-year-old pro-democracy activist in Hong Kong, has received a brand new nickname.
Her supporters have began calling her “the real Mulan” – in reference to the legendary Chinese heroine who fought to save lots of her household and nation.
Ms Chow was one among a handful of activists and media figures arrested this week beneath a controversial new safety regulation imposed by Beijing. She has been charged with “colluding with foreign forces” – if convicted, she might resist life in jail.
She’s now been launched on bail, however her arrest prompted an outpouring of assist, with many tweeting the hashtag #FreeAgnes.
Mulan is an historical Chinese legend, however grew to become fashionable globally by the 1998 Disney animated movie.
The story incorporates a younger girl who disguises herself as a person so she will battle to save lots of her household and nation.
A live-action remake of the movie was to be launched this yr, the titular position performed by Chinese-American actress Liu Yifei.
But for a lot of final yr, Hong Kong protesters calling for democratic reforms have been engaged in more and more violent clashes with riot police, who have been accused of utilizing extreme drive.
Pro-Beijing teams accused the protesters of attacking police and anti-protest Hong Kongers.
During one burst of unrest, Ms Liu shared a Weibo put up from the government-run Beijing newspaper People’s Daily that learn, in Chinese: “I also support Hong Kong police. You can beat me up now.”
Pro-democracy protesters shortly started slamming Ms Liu, accusing her of supporting police brutality.
The film quickly grew to become a political image – with Chinese residents voicing their assist for Ms Liu and Hong Kong pro-democracy supporters calling for a boycott.
Disney lately introduced Mulan would solely have a restricted cinema launch however be streamed to its Disney+ service as an alternative, citing pandemic prices.
Many have began contrasting Ms Liu and Ms Chow – saying the activist was the true illustration of a heroine that stood as much as battle.
Memes then began popping up on social media.
“Agnes demonstrated what true bravery looks like,” mentioned one consumer on Twitter. “Agnes is my Mulan.”
“Agnes Chow should be the real Mulan. She’s much better than Liu who [supports] Hong Kong police brutality. She’s brave and willing to… fight for freedom,” one other mentioned.
Ms Chow – who’s fluent in Japanese – additionally has a sizeable following in Japan, with some Japanese media shops referring to her because the “Goddess of Democracy”.
What else will we find out about Agnes Chow?
Ms Chow has been energetic in Hong Kong politics since a younger age, becoming a member of a youth-led motion at solely 15.
The motion had protested in opposition to plans to implement “moral and national education” in public faculties. Students then feared that it signalled the introduction of the sort of closely censored training used on the Chinese mainland.
They staged large sit-ins and the plan was finally shelved.
It was throughout these protests that she met well-known activist Joshua Wong.
Both went on to change into key figures within the Umbrella motion – a sequence of sit in protests in 2014 which demanded that the town have the ability to select its personal chief.
The protests weren’t profitable – however created a complete new era of younger political leaders.
Ms Chow, Mr Wong and Nathan Law, one other activist, went on to discovered the pro-democracy social gathering Demosisto in 2016.
In 2018, Ms Chow tried to run in native elections – she gave up her British citizenship to take action and deferred her college finals.
But her nomination was rejected as a result of officers mentioned she supported “self-determination” for Hong Kong.
“The most important issue was not whether I can run for future elections, it was whether Hong Kong people’s most basic rights and freedoms can be protected,” she mentioned then, in accordance with an SCMP report.
In 2019, huge protests erupted in Hong Kong, with many talking out in opposition to an extradition invoice that will permit suspects in Hong Kong to be tried in mainland China.
In August of that yr, Ms Chow was arrested for allegedly taking part in, and inciting, an unauthorised meeting on the Hong Kong police headquarters earlier in June.
Other outstanding pro-democracy figures together with Joshua Wong and Andy Chan have been additionally arrested.
She later pleaded responsible.
Then on 30 June this yr, the brand new safety regulation kicked in.
Some political activists, like Mr Law from the identical social gathering – selected to flee Hong Kong, for fear of being imprisoned by Beijing.
Ms Chow together with Mr Wong introduced that they have been withdrawing from Demosisto – which was later disbanded – however selected to remain in Hong Kong.
Earlier this week, Ms Chow was arrested in a nationwide safety operation that noticed different outstanding figures like media mogul Jimmy Lai detained.
It was later revealed that Ms Chow was arrested for “colluding with foreign forces” beneath the brand new nationwide safety regulation.
“I would say that it’s very obvious that the regime and the government are using the national security law to suppress political dissidents,” mentioned advised reporters after being bailed.
Many had feared forward of the passing of the regulation that it might be used to punish protesters and cut back the town’s autonomy.
Under the brand new regulation, inciting hatred of China’s central authorities and Hong Kong’s regional authorities is unlawful.
It criminalises any act of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with international or exterior forces.
Ms Chow later mentioned in a press release on Facebook that her newest arrest had been essentially the most “terrifying” one thus far.
“Arrested four times, this is the most terrifying. But even in the police station, I can still hear from my lawyers the love and concern everyone has for me,” she mentioned.
“The road [ahead] is tough. Take care of yourselves.”