Why Hong Kong Activist, Nathan Law, Seeks Political Asylum in Britain

HONG KONG — The Hong Kong democracy activist Nathan Legislation mentioned on Monday that he had utilized for political asylum in Britain, a petition that may doubtless inflame tensions with China if granted.

Mr. Legislation, 27, fled to London in June, simply earlier than a brand new nationwide safety legislation gave Hong Kong sweeping powers to quash dissent after months of fiery anti-government protests.

Mr. Legislation rose to prominence in Hong Kong as a scholar chief in 2014, calling for freer elections within the semiautonomous Chinese language territory via road demonstrations and sit-ins. Two years later, at age 23, he grew to become the town’s youngest elected lawmaker at 23, although he was disqualified the next 12 months over altering his oath for workplace.

Mr. Legislation was jailed in 2017 on expenses of inciting the road protests three years earlier. His shut ally, Joshua Wong, was sentenced to more than a year in prison this month over a protest in 2019 and faces further expenses over his activism.

“I hope that my presence can sound an alarm to remind folks simply how a lot of a hazard the C.C.P. poses to our shared democratic values,” Mr. Legislation wrote in an op-ed article asserting his asylum bid in The Guardian on Monday, referring to the Chinese language Communist Occasion.

Mr. Legislation’s petition for asylum in Britain comes at a time when China is making an attempt to forge new commerce alliances with the UK and the European Union as its confrontational relationship with the USA shouldn’t be anticipated to considerably enhance below a Biden administration. The US has imposed travel bans and economic sanctions on a number of high-level authorities officers over the persevering with crackdown on the opposition in Hong Kong.

In July, Chinese language state media accused Mr. Legislation and 5 different Hong Kong activists of colluding with international forces and listed them as fugitives needed below the safety legislation, which applies to offenses dedicated exterior China. In October, the Hong Kong police issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Legislation over a June protest he attended earlier than leaving the town.

Mr. Legislation, who didn’t disclose his location till weeks after leaving Hong Kong due to issues for his security, mentioned that he was ready for a life in exile and that he had reduce ties along with his household to keep away from implicating them.

“Who can get pleasure from freedom from worry within the face of China’s highly effective political machine?” he tweeted in July. “What we will select is how to answer this worry.”

As Hong Kong protesters fled the town, China warned different international locations in opposition to providing asylum to what some officers described as “violent criminals.”

In October, China’s ambassador to Canada, Cong Peiwu, instructed Canadian officers to contemplate the “good well being and security” of Canadian passport holders in Hong Kong earlier than granting asylum to Hong Kong protesters.

Regardless of China’s indignant warnings, Britain has moved towards permitting almost three million folks from its former territory to dwell and work within the nation on a path towards citizenship. Britain’s inside minister, Priti Patel, met with Mr. Legislation on Dec. 10 and promised to protect the freedoms of individuals from the previous British colony.

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