This decision has sparked outrage from the Communist Party-controlled government in the Chinese territory, who have pledged to relentlessly pursue her.
Chow, who had previously been incarcerated for organizing an "unauthorized assembly" during the 2019 protests, fled to Canada while on bail. She has expressed her intention to never return to Hong Kong, citing the political climate, her personal health, and the significant political risk of being denied permission to leave Hong Kong again.
Speaking to Reuters, Chow stated, "In consideration of the political situation in Hong Kong and my personal health, my mental health, my physical health, and the high political risk of not being allowed to leave Hong Kong again, I've decided not to go back."
Chow further elaborated on her experience in Canada via Instagram, where she described her newfound sense of physical and mental freedom. "There are still a lot of unknowns in the future," she admitted, "but [I] know that I finally don't have to worry about whether or not I'll be arrested, and I can say what I want to say [and] do what I want to do."
As reported by Reuters, Chow was sentenced to 10 months in prison in 2020 for her involvement in the pro-democracy protests the previous year. She was released in June 2021 after serving seven months. Chow was under close surveillance due to accusations of collusion with foreign forces, which is a violation of the national security law imposed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Her passport was confiscated as a result.
Earlier this year, Chow was permitted to leave Hong Kong to pursue a master's program in Toronto. She returned her passport the day before her departure. She was expected to return to Hong Kong this month to report to authorities, as per their agreement.
The Hong Kong Police Force has expressed its displeasure with Chow's decision. The National Post reports that the agency issued a statement condemning her "irresponsible action." Although Chow was not named directly, evidence suggests she is "the woman" referred to in the statement. The police urged her to "immediately turn back before it is too late and not to choose a path of no return," warning that she will carry the label of 'fugitive' for the rest of her life if she does not comply.
Canada suspended its extradition agreement with Hong Kong in 2020 following the CCP-controlled government's crackdown on its citizens.