former famous Hong Kong student movement leader Zhou Ting

Zhow Ting, one of Hong Kong’s most famous former pro-democracy movement leaders, announced on Sunday (December 3, 2023) that she had gone to Canada to study and would not return to Hong Kong to report to duty at the end of this month in accordance with the Hong Kong police’s bail pending investigation requirements, and “probably will not do so in her lifetime.” gone back”.

The National Security Department of the Hong Kong Police issued a statement, “Strongly condemning the irresponsible behavior that blatantly challenges the law and discipline, and calls on the parties involved to step back from the brink and not go on the road of no return and bear the name of a ‘fugitive’ for the rest of their lives.”

The statement did not mention Zhou Ting’s name, but the description of the case was consistent with Zhou Ting’s, saying, “The woman was arrested by the National Security Division of the Police on August 10, 2020, on suspicion of violating the crime of colluding with foreign forces. She was later arrested in the same year. He was imprisoned for other cases from the end of the year to mid-2021, and after he was released from prison, he continued to be released on bail by the National Security Department pending investigation.”

The police statement said, “She had earlier disclosed to the police that she hoped to study abroad and submitted a nomination document to prove that she had been admitted. Therefore, the National Security Department issued her a travel document in September and extended her bail until this month.”

The 27-year-old Chow Ting served as the spokesman for Scholarism during the Occupy Central period in 2014. Later, he was a member, standing committee member and former deputy secretary-general of the Hong Kong Democracy Party.

After the authorities suppressed the anti-extradition movement in 2019 and implemented Beijing’s new national security law for Hong Kong, Zhou Ting was convicted by a court of participating in an unsanctioned assembly and served a seven-month sentence. After being released from prison in June 2021, Zhou Ting has said little to the outside world. Make public appearances and disappear from social media.

On her birthday this Sunday, December 3, Zhou Ting suddenly posted on the social media Instagram, saying that she had been studying at a Canadian university for three months, and at the request of the Hong Kong National Security Police, she would briefly return to Hong Kong during the holiday at the end of December to report to the police. However, after careful consideration, including the situation in Hong Kong, personal safety, physical and mental health conditions, we have decided not to return to Hong Kong.

forced into exile

She wrote: “I will probably never go back in my life. The main reason is that if I go back to report, even if the national security does not arrest or take back my passport, it is very likely that the national security will put forward some conditions or ask questions as before, and I need I have to satisfy them before I can return to Canada. Even if they don’t do this at the end of December, when I return to Hong Kong next year, as the situation in Hong Kong becomes more serious, they can ban me from leaving the country at any time on the grounds of investigation. I don’t want to be forced to leave the country again. I don’t want to do things I don’t want to do, and I don’t want to be forced to go to mainland China again. If this continues, even if I am safe, my body and mind will collapse.”

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The forced trip to mainland China that Zhou Ting was referring to turned out to be during August this year, when she was “arranged” to transit to mainland China once in order to meet the requirements of national security personnel to retrieve her seized passport. Officers from the National Security Division of the Hong Kong Police Force assisted her in applying for a home-return permit and accompanied her on a “one-day trip” to Shenzhen. Zhou Ting was arranged to visit the “Reform and Opening Up Exhibition” to learn about the development of the CCP and the “brilliant achievements” of past leaders. Later, she was assigned to Tencent’s headquarters to learn about “the technological development of the motherland.”

She questioned in the post that she personally never denies China’s economic development, but such a powerful country wants to send those who fight for democracy to prison, restrict the freedom of entry and exit, and also requires entering mainland China to visit patriotic exhibitions in exchange for getting their passports back. Isn’t it a kind of vulnerability?

After returning to Hong Kong from the visit, she was once again asked by the National Security Bureau to write a letter “thanking the police for the arrangements that enabled me to understand the great development of the motherland.” She said that she had written several such handwritten letters in the months before leaving Hong Kong.

forced to brainwash

Zhou Ting emphasized that she did not originally have any intention not to return to Hong Kong. When she was still in Hong Kong, she did not think about whether she would return to Hong Kong at all. When she did not even know whether she could leave the country smoothly, she had no idea at all. Think about what comes next. But after she came to Canada and settled down, she slowly began to think about it. Before making this decision, she also bought a ticket to return to Hong Kong in December. Therefore, she did not deliberately deceive the national security. If she made this statement, it is absolutely wrong.

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Admitting that she suffered from anxiety, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression due to the national security crackdown in Hong Kong, she finally wrote: “In the past few years, I have experienced how precious freedom from fear is. I will continue to do so in the future. There are a lot of unknowns, but what I do know is that I finally no longer have to worry about whether I will be arrested, and I can say what I want to say and do what I want to do. While studying and healing in Canada, I also hope to regain my past. I have given up my interests due to emotional illness and various pressures, and established my own rhythm. Freedom does not come easily. In the daily life of fear, I cherish all the people who have not forgotten me, care about me, and love me. I hope we can be together in the near future. We will reunite in the future and give each other a good hug.”

Zhou Ting also revealed that after she is released from prison, she still needs to abide by the guarantee conditions of the National Security Law and needs to check in regularly. Her passport has been confiscated and she cannot leave the country. According to the procedures of the National Security Law, every three months, the National Security Bureau will ask her to sign a “Notice of Detention of Travel Documents”, informing her that her passport will be detained for three more months, three months and three months, and three months and three months. months.

“Every time I report for duty, I am worried that I will be arrested again at any time. Even when I get home, I always imagine whether the national security will knock on my door one morning, just like last time, trying to break the lock and break the door. Then came in and took me away again with a certain crime. Every day, these imaginations would pop up in my mind, and I could do nothing but cry, collapse, tremble, or tell my friends about my fears. , nothing can be done.”

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Doctors diagnosed her with anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression. The mixture of several emotional illnesses put my body and mind in a very unstable state, and I also knew that I had nowhere to escape. ”

Physical and mental exhaustion

Zhou Ting also wrote that since his release from prison, he has not done any public activities, has not participated in politics, and has not contacted his former friends. He can only wait in silence. But she still has not obtained the right to leave the country, and her passport has not been returned. Sometimes the national security will “care” about her situation during check-in – income, job, family, interpersonal relationships, just like someone will remind her every once in a while. For you : you have not regained your freedom, you are still under supervision, don’t try to do anything (of course, I don’t either, I only dare to live in fear). Regular reporting to meet with the national security, deprivation of some freedoms, emotional instability, various restrictions on life brought by the identity of a (former) democratic politician, coupled with endless waiting, “my mental condition is getting worse. In 2023, it is It’s been the worst year I’ve been emotionally and physically.”

Zhou Ting was once known as the “goddess of academic people” and “goddess of student movement” in Hong Kong, and was called the “goddess of democracy” by the Japanese media.

On December 2, 2021, Zhou Ting was selected as one of the 25 most influential women in the world by the Financial Times in 2021.