Hong Kong – Hong Kong democracy activist Nathan Law said on Monday that he had applied for political asylum in Britain, a petition that would likely cause tension with China.
Mr Law, 27, fled to London in June before a new national security law gave broad rights to calm dissent after months of protests by the Hong Kong government.
Mr Law rose to prominence in Hong Kong as a student leader in 2014, calling for free elections in the semiautonomous Chinese region through street demonstrations and sit-ins. Two years later, at the age of 23, he became the city’s youngest elected MLA, although he was disqualified the following year after making changes to his oath for the post.
Mr Law was jailed three years ago in 2017 on charges of inciting street protests. His close aide, Joshua Wong, was sentenced to more than a year in prison this month for a protest in 2019 and his activism faces additional charges.
“I hope my presence can raise alarm to remind people how much of a threat the CCP is to our shared democratic values,” Mr. Law announced in an op-ed article Monday in The Guardian of his asylum bid Written To the Chinese Communist Party.
Mr Law’s plea for asylum in Britain comes at a time when China is trying to forge new trade alliances with the United Kingdom and the European Union as its conflicting relationship with the United States drastically improves under a Biden administration Is not expected The United States has imposed travel restrictions and economic sanctions on many high-level government officials over the continued uproar of opposition in Hong Kong.
In July, Chinese state media accused Mr Law and five other Hong Kong activists of colluding with foreign forces and listed him as a fugitive under the Security Law, which applies to crimes committed outside China. In October, the Hong Kong Police issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Law, a June protest he attended before leaving town.
Mr Law, who did not disclose his location until weeks after leaving Hong Kong because of concerns for his safety, said he was ready for life in exile and that he had been in relationships with his family to avoid trapping him Was cut.
“Who can enjoy freedom from fear in front of China’s powerful political machine?” that Tweeted In July. “What we can choose is how to respond to this fear.”
As Hong Kong protesters fled the city, China warned of asylum to other countries, which some officials described as “violent criminals”.
In October, China’s ambassador to Canada, Kang Paiwu, asked Canadian officials to consider the “good health and safety” of Canadian passport holders in Hong Kong before giving asylum to Hong Kong protesters.
Despite China’s displeasure, Britain has allowed nearly three million people from its former region to remain in the country and work on the path of citizenship. Britain’s Interior Minister Preeti Patel met with Mr Law on 10 December and promised to protect people’s freedom from the former US colony.