Nathan Law: Prominent democracy activist flees Hong Kong

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Pro-democracy activist Nathan Law speaks to members of media during a press conference on June 19, 2020 in Hong Kong, ChinaImage copyright Getty Images

One of Hong Kong’s most outstanding younger democracy activists has fled the territory after China imposed a sweeping, controversial safety legislation.

Nathan Law, a one-time pupil chief and native legislator who hung out in jail after 2014’s “Umbrella Protests”, stated he would proceed his advocacy work from overseas.

He introduced he had left two days after China introduced in its new safety legislation.

Activists say it erodes freedoms however Beijing has dismissed the criticism.

Hong Kong’s sovereignty was handed again to China by Britain in 1997 and sure rights have been imagined to be assured for at the very least 50 years beneath the “one country, two systems” settlement.

But opponents of the brand new legislation, which targets secession, subversion and terrorism with punishments as much as life in jail, say it successfully ends freedom of speech.

Within moments of it being introduced on Tuesday, Mr Law stated he was stepping down from Demosito Party, which he co-founded with well-known activist Joshua Wong. At the time, he stated the legislation marked the beginning of a “bloody cultural revolution”.

On Wednesday, Mr Law spoke by way of videolink to a US Congressional listening to on Hong Kong. He instructed American politicians he was nervous about returning to the territory, for fear of being imprisoned by Beijing.

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Media captionMany residents fear the brand new legislation means the tip of the “one country, two systems” precept

Then, on Thursday, he launched an announcement to the media saying he had already left Hong Kong however would “continue the advocacy work on the international level”.

He didn’t say the place he had gone, including: “Based on risk assessment, I shall not reveal too much about my personal whereabouts and situation now.”

Mr Law was, in 2016, the area’s youngest legislator. At the time, he argued that the previous British colony should be allowed a referendum on its future. He has stated he doesn’t need Hong Kong to turn into “just another Chinese city”.

He was later disqualified after he was discovered to have improperly taken his swearing-in oath.

What is the legislation?

The legislation – which China has stated is critical to cease the kind of pro-democracy protests seen in Hong Kong throughout a lot of 2019 – is wide-ranging, making inciting hatred of China’s central authorities and Hong Kong’s regional authorities offences.

It additionally permits for closed-door trials, wire-tapping of suspects and the potential for suspects to be tried on the Chinese mainland.

Acts together with damaging public transport amenities – which frequently occurred throughout the 2019 protests – could be thought-about terrorism.

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Media captionHundreds have been arrested as Hong Kong’s nationwide safety legislation kicks in

And because it was launched on Tuesday, the native authorities has introduced that the slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our Times” is unlawful. Mr Law used the phrase throughout the Congressional listening to on Wednesday.

Ten folks have already been arrested beneath the legislation throughout protests which came about on 1 July.

Hong Kong’s new safety legislation

What has the response been?

Many nations have been essential.

US lawmakers have unanimously permitted new Hong Kong-related sanctions, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying the legislation amounted to a “brutal, sweeping crackdown against the people of Hong Kong, intended to destroy the freedoms they were promised”.

The Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which has been despatched to US President Donald Trump to signal, imposes sanctions on banks that do enterprise with Chinese officers who’re concerned in cracking down on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated the passing of the legislation was a “clear and serious breach” of the 1985 Sino-British joint declaration.

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Media captionDominic Raab says China is ‘in clear and critical breach’ of the Joint Declaration

The UK has provided residency, and doable citizenship, to as much as three million Hong Kongers within the wake of the legislation’s implementation.

Numerous others have additionally expressed sturdy issues. Australia revealed that, just like the UK, it was contemplating providing protected haven to Hong Kongers.

China has responded by saying Hong Kong’s affairs are “none of your business”.

However, Cuba – on behalf of 53 nations – welcomed the legislation.

Speaking on the 44th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, it stated: “Non-interference in internal affairs of sovereign states is an essential principle enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.”