Britain grants asylum to Hong Kong democracy activist Nathan Law


Hong Kong democracy activist Nathan Law said Wednesday he was granted asylum in the UK after fleeing the semi-autonomous area following the introduction of comprehensive Chinese security laws.

The 27-year-old former Hong Kong lawmaker and student activist fled to the UK in July 2020, in the weeks following the enactment of the National Security Act, which pro-democracy protesters opposed.

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Hong Kong democracy activist Nathan Law said Wednesday he was granted asylum in the UK after fleeing the semi-autonomous area following the introduction of comprehensive Chinese security laws.

The 27-year-old former Hong Kong lawmaker and student activist fled to the UK in July 2020, in the weeks following the enactment of the National Security Act, which pro-democracy protesters opposed.

Law wrote on Twitter that he had been granted asylum in the UK after several interviews over a period of four months.

“The fact that I am being wanted under the National Security Law shows that I am facing severe political persecution and that I am unlikely to return to Hong Kong without risk,” he wrote.

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The activist highlighted the plight of other UK asylum seekers from Hong Kong who may not have the same level of evidence behind their claims.

“I hope my case can help the Home Office understand more about the complicated situation in Hong Kong.

“In order to free more protesters from Beijing’s authoritarian repression, the Interior Ministry could consider more extensive evidence,” he added.

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The fate of the law and the fate of possibly millions of Hong Kongers whom Britain has offered a way to prevent China’s action has become a point of bitter diplomatic confrontation between Beijing and London, which ceded the former colonial territory in 1997.

Britain has accused China of breaking its promise to uphold freedoms in Hong Kong for 50 years after the surrender.

China said earlier this year it would not recognize British National (Overseas) Passports for Hong Kong residents as a new visa was introduced in January providing a path to full British citizenship for those wanting to leave the area.

Beijing and London have also disagreed over the past few weeks on Chinese sanctions against four British companies and nine individuals, including lawmakers, who have spoken out in defense of the Uyghur Muslim minority in China.

Last year Britain protested against prison sentences handed over to three leading activists of the pro-democracy party Demosisto, which co-founded the law.

The party disbanded the same day that China’s new security law was passed in Hong Kong.

While in exile, Law continued to advocate for pro-democracy groups in Hong Kong on social media.

Last month, at mass trials of activists in Hong Kong, he suggested that they had shown that “the Chinese Communist Party is nakedly abusing its powers and using the courts to demonstrate those powers.”

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