Owen Chow may be unfamiliar to the western world, but to Hongkongers, he was part of their battle for freedom. Chow is also one of the 47 democrats contacted by the National Security police and informed to report to the police station on Feb. 28, 2021. He was detained until June 22, 2021, when he was released on bail.
The public speculated, at the time, that the arrested persons would be prosecuted for subversion of state power and remanded immediately.
Chow started his political career in 2019 but lost his first district council election that year. Later, Chow participated in the democratic pre-election primaries winning the nomination to stand for the New Territories East District in the Legco election.
Due to his involvement in the election, the police re-arrested Chow for subversion of state power in 2021.
On Feb. 10, 2021, he was charged additionally for rioting under the National Security Law when reporting at the police station. The police accused Chow of participating in the Occupy Legislative Council Incident on Jul. 1, 2020.
Owen Chow was also a member of the Save12Youth Concern Group. He was one of the dedicated members who helped the 12 Honkongers’ family members with case updates, emotional support, and logistics assistance.
The 12 Hongkongers were arrested in public water between Hong Kong and Mainland by the Chinese Community Party’s Police in Shenzhen for “illegal smuggling.” The 12 Hongkongers were extradited to Shenzhen, China, for trials, where later they would be found guilty and jailed.
In Chow’s Facebook post, he described being in jail as having “no sense of reality, as if he was living in a bubble.”
For seven days and seven nights, Chow had to go through the numbing process every day for 12 hours from 7 a.m. “Pack up, get changed, Wait, being cuffed and escorted back, shower, and go back to the cell. Everything is dull and draining.”
But Chow knew that even though the wait had been torture, he had no choice but to face it head-on.
Chow also said an election could not be more common and anticipated in normal civil society. However, that had not been the case in Hong Kong. Chow felt helpless that, as an accused defendant, he had been forced to perform and pretend in court.
In the face of absurd accusations and humiliation, he could only endure. He, however, believed that with patience, he could achieve anything with perseverance and strong will.
Chow refused to comment on Au Lok-hin on his heart-pouring Facebook post, one of the 47 initially arrested now became the prosecution’s witness. He only hoped to use Au as a self-reminder of the importance of maintaining faith and the truth.
“Sentence reduction or early release may be tempting, but it is more crucial now to demonstrate what you believe and practice justice,” Chow added.
He wanted to fulfill the justice he once pursued with two million Hongkongers.
Chow admitted that Hongkongers might no longer be able to participate in civic activities in today’s Hong Kong. “However, it is pivotal for everyone to keep a close eye on the trial. The best way for Hongkongers to get involved is through thoughts and discussions.”
Chow reminded Hongkongers to reflect on how courageous and crazy they once were. “This is a dire era. But let us look at how we used to face fears and explore the endless possibility of our future together.”
Born as a 90s kid, Chow experienced all the highs and lows in his short-lived political career at 26.
Chow seemed calm dealing with the roadblocks ahead. He also found peace in Buddhism while being detained. Chow wished to master Buddha’s wisdom, learn compassion, and save all sentient beings like Buddha.
“Through Buddha’s principles, I can understand and accept suffering.”
In an HK Feature interview, Chow once said, “If we want to change the future, we must do something now. Choose good and kindness. Even in an inferior environment or prison, we must conquer more knowledge and emerge as a new self.”
Chow’s belief in the right to autonomy remained strong despite losing his freedom and time with his loved ones.
Owen Chow is one of the 47 defendants in the democratic primaries case. He was released on bail, approved by the High Court in June 2021.
Chow’s bail conditions included HK$50,000 in cash and HK$50,000 in the personal guarantee. He also had to surrender all of his travel documents.
During his bail, Chow was prohibited from directly and indirectly making any statement, issue, or reposting any content that might be “reasonably” considered a possible violation of the National Security Law or the laws of Hong Kong to safeguard national security.
The National Security Police arrested Chow again in January 2022, and accused Chow of violating his bail conditions by posting something online. Chow found himself remanded in jail again after his bail was revoked.
As of March 24, 2022, Owen Chow remained jailed as his trial continued.