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China accuses UK of sheltering ‘criminal suspect’ after pro-democracy activist Nathan Law gets asylum

Law who fled Hong Kong in 2020 said on Wednesday that he was granted political asylum by the Home Office and his arrest warrant under the Beijing-imposed national security law was evidence that he was “exposed to severe political persecution.”

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: April 10, 2021 2:09:59 pm
Nathan Law, Hong Kong, Hong Kong activistPro-democracy activist Nathan Law (Reuters)

The UK has granted asylum to pro-democracy Hong Kong citizen, Nathan Law. Law, who fled Hong Kong in 2020, said on Wednesday that he was granted political asylum by the Home Office and his arrest warrant under the Beijing-imposed national security law was evidence that he was “exposed to severe political persecution.”

The Chinese authorities have not taken well to the news and accused the UK of sheltering a “criminal suspect”, the Guardian reported.

Law is one of many overseas figures wanted by Beijing for criminal acts of dissent as secession, sedition, foreign collusion and terrorism. He first gained attention during the 2014 ‘Umbrella Movement’, a massive civil disobedience movement and formed the now-defunct Demosisto political party. He fled Hong Kong in June 2020 citing unknown dangers under the new laws imposed by Beijing and because he had spoken to the US Congress about the crisis in Hong Kong.

Under Beijing’s national security law, over 10,200 people have been arrested since the mass protests began in Hong Kong in 2019, the Guardian reported. Law’s Demosisto co-founders, Agnes Chow and Joshua Wong are currently in jail along with other pro-democracy figures and civilian protesters.

On Thursday, Zhao Lijian, the spokesman for China’s ministry of foreign affairs said, “We firmly oppose the harbouring of criminals in any form by any country, organisation or individual. If the UK openly endorses those seeking Hong Kong independence and shelters wanted suspects, it will constitute gross interference in Hong Kong’s judicial affairs and a breach of international law and basic governing international relations.”

Law hopes his condition would help increase awareness about the grave and complicated situation in Hong Kong. He tweeted, “Some may not have enough evidence to substantiate their claims due to lack of media reports of fleeing before the persecution. Fears over their claims being denied, most of them live in distress and anxiety.”

Britain’s offer of an escape route for Law and potentially millions of other Hong Kong citizens from the brutal Chinese crackdown has become a bitter point of contention between the two countries.

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