(Bloomberg) -- A prominent Hong Kong activist accused of violating a national security law said she left for Canada and effectively planned to 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 who is currently on bail, said on social media on Sunday she wouldn’t come back to the city after leaving for Toronto to study.
The Hong Kong government said it would “spare no effort to pursue and arrest her in accordance with the law, and severely reprimand such shameful behaviors of fleeing and escaping punishment,” according to a statement late Monday.
Chow, 27, was arrested in 2020 for allegedly colluding with foreign forces after Beijing cracked down on the political opposition with a broad 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.
“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 hadn’t yet thought about seeking asylum in Canada, or elsewhere.
The Hong Kong government said Chow had shown a “flagrant disregard” for her bail terms, in a Monday statement. “Fugitives will be pursued for life unless they turn themselves in,” it added.
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In her social media post, Chow also said that in August Hong Kong’s national security police took her on a visit to an exhibition on reform and opening in Shenzhen to learn about China’s achievements. She claimed she was also taken to Tencent’s headquarters in the mainland Chinese city to learn about China’s technological advances.
The one-day trip was a condition of her release, Chow said, adding that police also asked her to write a letter thanking them for helping her understand the “motherland’s great development.”
Tencent and Chow did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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.
--With assistance from Zheping Huang and Iris Ouyang.
(Updates with quote from Hong Kong authorities. A previous version of this story was corrected to show that Chow is not currently considering seeking asylum.)
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