London / Hong Kong (dpa) – Nine months after fleeing Hong Kong, the prominent activist Nathan Law was granted political asylum in Great Britain. The 27-year-old former opposition MP reported on Twitter that his application was approved after four months of scrutiny.
“The fact that I am being searched under the national security law shows that I am facing severe political persecution and that I will probably not be able to return to Hong Kong without risk.”
When he was elected in 2016, Law was the youngest MP in the history of the former British Crown Colony. However, he lost his seat a year later when a court found that he had failed to sincerely take his oath of office. Recently there was also a lawsuit against him for illegal gathering. He fled to Great Britain in June – shortly before Beijing passed the security law for the actual autonomously governed Special Administrative Region of China.
The controversial law targets the pro-democratic opposition and targets activities that Beijing sees as subversive, separatist, terrorist or conspiratorial. It has been criticized by the UK and other Western countries as a breach of the Joint Declaration for the Return of Hong Kong to China in 1997. Since then, the principle of “one country, two systems” has applied, but critics have only spoken of “one country, one system” since Beijing increased its grip on the economic metropolis.
Law expressed concern that other Hong Kong activists who fled to the UK might not be granted the same status as him because they received less media attention or did not gather enough evidence to support their asylum claim. He hoped that his case would have given the British authorities a better understanding of the “complicated situation in Hong Kong”.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210408-99-122549 / 2