26 June 2019
Alex Chow says it's important to have empathy in order to understand the struggles of young Hong Kong people. Photo: HKEJ
Alex Chow says it's important to have empathy in order to understand the struggles of young Hong Kong people. Photo: HKEJ

Wealthy background fires student leader’s social activism

A comfortable family background is not stopping Alex Chow from pursuing his social advocacy.

In fact, he feels obliged to speak out for the less privileged because of his upbringing, Ming Pao Daily reported Monday.

As secretary general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, Chow helped drive the recent pro-democracy protests. 

Chow, 24, said his family background has given him a bigger sense of social responsibility.

Chow’s parents own a clothing manufacturing business in Shenzhen and employs 3,600 people in the mainland, Hong Kong, Bangladesh and Vietnam, according to the company website.

In Hong Kong, they own four properties worth a combined HK$60 million (US$7.73 million), the report said.

Chow said he took the MTR to the Admiralty protest site and goes to school by bus.

He said it is important to have a sense of empathy to better understand the difficulties and struggles faced by young people.

When asked if he would stand in the Legislative Council election in 2016, Chow said he would like to finish his studies and contribute to Hong Kong by means of academic excellence.

Chow said the Legislative Council needs young blood and that singer Denise Ho would be an ideal candidate.

Chow’s family was in the news recently after reports some mainland officials had sought to meet with parents of student leaders during the protests.

The officials wanted the parents to talk the student leaders out of the civil disobedience campaign, the reports said.

Chow did not confirm or deny the reports but said the family offices in Hong Kong was the target of harassment during the protests.

He said he was told Beijing had sent its own representatives to collect intelligence in Hong Kong rather than rely on the government and the Liaison Office.

Political commentator Johnny Lau said such visits have become more frequent under the pretext of “enhancing stability”.

If contacted by these officials, parents should tell them they have no influence over their children’s political views and behavior and that they think and act on their own, Lau said.

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