UK grants asylum to Hong Kong democracy activist Nathan Law

WION Web Team
London, United Kingdom Published: Apr 07, 2021, 10.24 PM(IST)

Hong Kong democracy activist Nathan Law attends a demonstration on September 1, 2020 outside the Foreign Office in Berlin, where the Chinese Foreign Minister was expected to hold talks with his German counterpart. Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The 27-year-old former Hong Kong lawmaker and student activist fled to the UK in July 2020 in the weeks after the National Security Law, opposed by pro-democracy protesters, was imposed

Hong Kong Democracy activist Nathan Law said on Wednesday he had been granted asylum in Britain after fleeing the semi-autonomous territory following the introduction of sweeping Chinese security laws.

The 27-year-old former Hong Kong lawmaker and student activist fled to the UK in July 2020 in the weeks after the National Security Law, opposed by pro-democracy protesters, was imposed.

Also read| Hong Kong tycoon Jimmy Lai among three pleading guilty to illegal assembly

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 wanted under the National Security Law shows that I am exposed to severe political persecution and am unlikely to return to Hong Kong without risk," he wrote.

×

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

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

"To free more protesters from Beijing’s authoritarian oppression, the Home Office could consider more comprehensive evidence," he added.

×

Law's fate and the fate of potentially millions of Hong Kongers who Britain has offered a route to escape China's crackdown, has become a point of bitter diplomatic contention between Beijing and London, which ceded the former colonial territory in 1997.

Ramping up sweeteners to lure Hong Kong residents, Britain on Thursday (April 8) pledged 43 million pounds ($59 million) to help them find jobs, houses and schools under the initiative allowing millions to resettle.

Britain has accused China of multiple breaches of an agreement that saw the semi-autonomous city handed back to China in 1997. It says China's security law and moves to disqualify pro-democracy legislators have undermined Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy.

London estimates that over 300,000 Hong Kong residents could emigrate over the next five years, and Bank of America expects Hong Kong residents moving to Britain could trigger capital outflows of $36 billion in 2021.

China said earlier this year it will not recognise the British National (Overseas) passport for Hong Kongers because of a new visa scheme introduced in January offering a pathway to full UK citizenship for those who want to leave the territory.

Beijing and London have in recent weeks also disagreed over Chinese sanctions against four UK entities and nine individuals including lawmakers that have spoken out in defence of China's Uyghur Muslim minority.

Last year, Britain protested at jail terms handed to three leading activists from the pro-democracy party Demosisto, which Law cofounded. 

The party disbanded on the same day China's new security legislation was imposed in Hong Kong.

In exile, Law has continued to champion the cause of pro-democracy groups in Hong Kong on social media.

Last month he hit out at mass trials of activists in Hong Kong saying that they showed that "the Chinese Communist party nakedly abuses its powers and uses the courts to demonstrate that power".

(With inputs from agencies)

 

Read in App