Hong Kong Democracy Activist Nathan Law Granted Asylum in UK

Hong Kong Democracy Activist Nathan Law Granted Asylum in UK
Pro-democracy activist Nathan Law speaks to the media outside the Court of Final Appeal after he and Joshua Wong's (not pictured) bail applications were successful at Hong Kong's highest court on Oct. 24, 2017. Jailed democracy activists Joshua Wong and Nathan Law were released on bail pending an appeal against convictions for their role in the 2014 Umbrella Movement protests. (Isaac Lawrence/AFP via Getty Images)
Alexander Zhang

Hong Kong democracy activist Nathan Law says he has been granted political asylum in Britain, nearly nine months after arriving in London.

“After several interviews in 4 months, the Home Office has informed me that my asylum application is approved,” he wrote on Twitter on April 7.

“The fact that I am wanted under the National Security Law shows that I am exposed to severe political persecution and am unlikely to return to Hong Kong without risk,” he wrote.

Law left Hong Kong and arrived in the UK in July 2020, after the Chinese regime imposed a draconian national security law on the former British colony.

The legislation gives Beijing sweeping powers to target individuals for any acts of secession, subversion, and collusion with foreign forces, with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Law thanked those who have supported him but expressed concerns for the fate of other Hong Kong asylum seekers who may be less fortunate than he has been.

“Some may not have enough evidence to substantiate their claims due to lack of media reports or fleeing before the persecution. Fears over their claims being denied, most of them live in distress and anxiety,” he wrote.

He wrote that he hopes his own case could “help the Home Office understand more about the complicated situation in Hong Kong.”

He suggested that “to free more protesters from Beijing’s authoritarian oppression, the Home Office could consider more comprehensive evidence when coping with Hong Kong cases.”

China’s foreign ministry on April 8 condemned the UK’s granting of asylum to Law, calling it “gross interference in Hong Kong’s judicial system.”

Also on April 8, the British government announced the launch of a 43 million pound ($59 million) dedicated support package for Hong Kong British National (Overseas) status holders and their families to help them settle successfully into life in the UK.

After the Chinese regime adopted the national security law for Hong Kong in June 2020, Britain launched a new visa scheme to offer BN(O) status holders a path to citizenship.

According to the UK Home Office, approximately 27,000 BN(O) status holders and their family members had applied for the special visa as of March 19.

The government estimated in 2020 that between 123,000 and 153,000 Hongkongers could take up the route in the first year, and the figure may reach between 258,000 and 322,000 over five years.

Reuters contributed to this report.