- “My destination: London,” Law wrote, as he celebrated his 27th birthday.
- Last Wednesday, less than 24 hours after the law came into force, the police made the first arrests under the text.
- Believing that the new law was a “clear breach” of autonomy, the UK announced last week its intention to extend the rights to immigration.
Nathan Law, one of the most prominent activists in the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, announced on Monday that he was in London, five days after he fled Hong Kong after a national security law imposed by Beijing came into force. Law made his announcement Monday on social media.
“My destination: London,” Law wrote, as he celebrated his 27th birthday. “Thus far I’ve kept a low profile on my whereabouts in order to mitigate the risks,” he added. “In this strange land, I began planning for the life ahead of me. There remains so many uncertainties.”
Nathan Law is one of the young leaders of the Demosisto political movement that fights for democracy in Hong Kong. Demosisto announced its dissolution last Tuesday, shortly after the Chinese National People’s Congress adopted the controversial national security law.
The party was founded by students at the end of the “Revolution of the Umbrellas” in 2014, against the growing dominance of Beijing in the former British colony.
Despite not having fought for the independence of the territory, Law and other prominent members of the party, such as former student leader Joshua Wong, were often described by Chinese authorities as separatists conspiring with foreign powers to frustrate Beijing.
China enacted its draconian national security law on June 30, imposed on Hong Kong to crack down on what it considers subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, in response to last year’s protest movement in the semi-autonomous territory.
The law represents the most radical change for Hong Kong since the move from the former UK colony administration to China in 1997. Pro-democracy activists fear an unprecedented erosion in the freedoms and autonomy granted to the former British colony.
Last Wednesday, less than 24 hours after the law came into force, the police made the first arrests under the text. The next day, Nathan Law announced that he had fled Hong Kong, without specifying his new destination.
Believing that the new law was a “clear breach” of autonomy of the former British colony, the UK announced last week its intention to extend the rights to immigration to the people of Hong Kong.
Despite the strong opposition of the security law from activists and leaders from across the globe, China states that it is only aimed at restoring lawlessness and order in Hong Kong. Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, recently came out in strong defense of the security law.
Lam, who has been accused of being a puppet of Beijing, described the new law as “mild,” and said it would restore Hong Kong’s status as one of the safest cities in the world. This was in reference to last year’s massive pro-democracy protests that at times turned violent.
“Surely this is not doom and gloom for Hong Kong,” Lam told reporters at her weekly press briefing. “I’m sure with the passage of time . . . confidence will grow in ‘one country, two systems’ and in Hong Kong’s future,” she added. “One country, two systems” refers to a system of governance which granted the city autonomy and freedoms that are not allowed on mainland China.