Demosisto activist Agnes Chow has officially announced that she will run in the upcoming Legislative Council by-elections in March.

Chow made her announcement on Saturday afternoon at a rally, with the support of pro-democracy veterans and lawmakers – including Martin Lee, Margaret Ng, and Eddie Chu. The nomination period opens on Tuesday and will run until January 29.

Agnes Chow. Photo: Facebook via 周庭 Agnes Chow Ting.

Four seats are up for grabs in the Legislative Council by-elections, which are scheduled for March 11. Chow is running for a seat in the Hong Kong Island constituency – the same seat that fellow party member Nathan Law occupied prior to his disqualification.

“Over the past few years, I’ve been fortunate in that – on this difficult journey – I’ve met many companions who walked alongside me. I turned from a little girl who was not very eloquent, to someone able to gain the support of many pro-democracy veterans and that of the people on the path to democracy, representing the voice of a new generation,” she said.

Agnes Chow. Photo: Facebook via 周庭 Agnes Chow Ting.

Chow thanked her former Scholarism friends, her Demosisto teammates, as well as those who worked with her in Nathan Law’s Legislative Council office. She also thanked the pro-democracy camp and the “political prisoners” who were jailed for Hong Kong.

“Without all of you, I would not be the Agnes Chow I am today,” Chow said on Saturday.

‘Justice and reason’

Demosisto Chairperson Nathan Law said on Saturday: “This will be a difficult fight, but we are used to difficult fights – therefore, all of us will continue down this path no matter how hard it is.”

“Agnes Chow’s win will not only mean that we can regain the seat and she will become a lawmaker, but it will also show that the public is very angry towards the unfair disqualification,” he said. “[A]nd they will use their votes to tell Beijing the people’s support is still on the side of the pro-democracy camp, justice and reason.”

In her election platform, Chow said that being in the legislature was important in the process for striving for democracy and an ideal society. If elected, she would carry on Law’s style of vigorously keeping the government in check, demonstrating young people’s vision, giving them a voice and strengthening connections with civic groups using the Legislative Council’s resources, she said.

Agnes Chow. Photo: Facebook via 周庭 Agnes Chow Ting.

Chow said that, over the past two months, they have been interacting with the public on the streets and working to gain the support of the pro-democracy camp. She said the election was a very important demonstration of public opinion, and it will show that they are undefeated in the face of Beijing’s totalitarianism.

She also pledged to continue fighting for universal suffrage, as well as defend the rule of law and protect the core values of Hong Kong.

Agnes Chow. Photo: Facebook via 周庭 Agnes Chow Ting.

If Chow succeeds in her bid, she will be the youngest lawmaker ever to be elected in Hong Kong. As Chow is the only pro-democracy candidate in the Hong Kong Island constituency, she did not have to go through the pan-democratic camp’s primary on Sunday.

Neither Nathan Law nor Joshua Wong are  able to run because the jail sentences handed down to them in August over their participation in the Civic Square protests exceeded three months.

Public by-elections will take place on March 11 in the Hong Kong Island, Kowloon West and New Territories East constituencies after a court ejected Nathan Law, Baggio Leung and Yau Wai-ching from the legislature. The Architectural, Surveying, Planning and Landscape functional constituency will also vote for a professional sector lawmaker to replace Edward Yiu. The four were ousted as legislators over protests they made during their oaths of office in 2016. Beijing made a rare interpretation of Hong Kong’s de facto constitution, leading a court to rule that they were never lawmakers to begin with.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.