The former Hong Kong lawmaker and student activist fled to the UK in July 2020 in the weeks following China’s imposition of the National Security Act.

Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Nathan Law has announced that he has been granted asylum in Britain, having fled 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 following the imposition of the National Security Act, which was opposed by pro-democracy protesters.

Law wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that he was granted asylum in the UK after several interviews over four months.

“The fact that I am wanted under the National Security Act shows that I am exposed to severe political persecution and that I am unlikely to return to Hong Kong safely,” he wrote.

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

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

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

Road to escape

The fate of Law, and the fate of potentially millions of Hong Kong people to whom Britain has offered a route out of Chinese repression, has become a point of bitter diplomatic controversy between Beijing and London, which ceded the former territory. colonial in 1997.

Britain has accused China of tearing up its promise to maintain key freedoms in Hong Kong for 50 years after the transfer.

China said earlier this year that it would not recognize the British (overseas) national passport for Hong Kong residents due to a new visa system introduced in January providing a route to British citizenship apart whole for those who wish to leave the territory.

A police motorcade leaves to transport activist Andy Li, one of 12 “ speedboat fugitives ” who were picked up by the Chinese coastguard last August, on Wednesday. [Anthony Wallace/AFP]

In recent weeks, Beijing and London have also disagreed over Chinese sanctions against four British entities and nine people, including lawmakers who have spoken out in defense of China’s Uyghur Muslim minority.

Britain last year protested the prison sentences imposed on three prominent activists of the pro-democracy Demosisto party, which Law co-founded.

The party dissolved on the same day that new Chinese security laws were imposed on Hong Kong.

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

Last month, he criticized the mass trials of activists in Hong Kong, saying they showed that “the Chinese Communist Party is abusing its powers and using the courts to demonstrate that power.”

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