Serious, bespectacled, childish, Nathan Law, 27, has a gentle and learned demeanor that belies the ferocity of his convictions.
Speaking of a small apartment in London – he will not reveal the place – the fear that drove him to flee his native Hong Kong is tangible.
“Wherever I am in the world, I am always a target,” he says. “I can’t stay in one place for more than a month. I will move constantly.
But when I told him that Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was going to announce that the UK was planning to end its extradition deal with Hong Kong, he was visibly relieved.
Serious, bespectacled, childish, Nathan Law, 27, has a gentle and learned demeanor that belies the ferocity of his convictions. He is pictured right with activist Joshua Wong in 2016
“This is such good news because it means Britain recognizes that the rule of law in Hong Kong does not exist,” he said.
“For me, it is important that they cannot extradite me to Hong Kong.
A few weeks ago, Law – the calendar is deliberately vague – piled up some goods in a backpack and fled the former British colony for the relative safety of the British capital.
“I was afraid of being arrested when I arrived at the border, which is why I had made the painful decision to leave so many things behind me: letters that I had received in prison which meant so much to me”, he said.
He was only 23 when he became Hong Kong’s youngest lawmaker and he gained instant notoriety by using his swearing-in ceremony as a platform for his campaign. Nathan Law is pictured alongside Joshua Wong
“And when I put my ID card in the machine, I was shaking with fear, fearing that I would appear on the blacklist. In the event that he crossed without dispute.
Political activist, he was pushed to leave by the threat of imprisonment of the Chinese government which imposed on July 1 a new draconian security law on the city whose democratic liberties he will defend until his last breath.
Law would certainly have been in Beijing’s sights. When he was only 23 years old when he became Hong Kong’s youngest legislator, he gained instant notoriety using his swearing-in ceremony as the platform for his campaign. In his opening statement, he argued that the swearing-in ceremony itself had become a “political tool” for the regime.
He also added a quote from Mahatma Gandhi which included the words: “You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.” “
Just over a year later, he had been disqualified from his duties and less than a month after this decision, he had been arrested for taking part in a demonstration deemed illegal by the authorities.
He was detained at the Tong Fuk Correctional Facility on Lantau Island in Hong Kong and served two and a half months before being released on bail.
“We lived 20 in a cell. The conditions weren’t good, ”he says with understated understatement.
“The food was bad and there was no privacy. But I felt lucky. If I had been sent, like other protesters, to a mainland Chinese prison, I would have been tortured.
A political activist, he was pushed to leave by the threat of imprisonment from the Chinese government, which on July 1 imposed a new draconian security law on the city, whose democratic freedoms he will defend until his last breath. Cartoons mocking activists Joshua Wong and Nathan Law were seen in Hong Kong High Court in 2017
After the introduction of the new law, he felt he had no choice but to leave.
“I left Hong Kong with tears in my eyes. It was very emotional for me and it was a difficult choice to make. But if I stayed and challenged her community to hold China accountable, it would have led to years if not life imprisonment.
“The threat is imminent. If the Chinese government wants to prosecute now, it is equipped with the legal weapons to do so. Ordinary citizens delete Facebook accounts if they have published something in favor of the democratic movement. They fear it will be used as evidence to prosecute them.
“They no longer chant slogans like ‘Free Hong Kong’. This is the effect of white terror. And the scariest thing? That the new security law has prohibited subversion and incites hatred of the Chinese government, but has not defined what they are.
China’s new far-reaching security law not only makes it easier to punish protesters, but makes “incitement to hatred” of the Chinese Communist Party illegal. It also allows for secret trials and wiretaps of suspects and allows them to be tried in mainland China where they risk torture.
Law’s mission in the UK is to continue doing what he can no longer do in his birthplace. He launched a rallying cry for the government to stand up to Beijing’s diktats.
“Wherever I am in the world, I am always a target,” he says. “I can’t stay in one place for more than a month. I will move constantly. But when I told him that Foreign Minister Dominic Raab (above) was to announce that the UK was planning to end his extradition agreement with Hong Kong, he was visibly relieved
“Britain must form a coherent and united front with other western democracies to protect the democratic and liberal values that we share,” he insists.
“I am here to share my story, to advocate for democracy in Hong Kong, to urge the British and Western democracies to form an alliance to fight China’s authoritarian expansion and ensure that human rights are met. men take priority over trade in their relations with them. ”
But he’s still looking over his shoulder. The CCP’s tentacles stretch out into the distance.
‘The [security] the law applies all over the world, ”he said.
“I can’t go back to Hong Kong and it’s heartbreaking, but it’s more than a personal choice.
“I have a duty, a responsibility, to speak on behalf of the people of Hong Kong and I am willing to sacrifice a long period of my life, maybe decades – until there is democracy there. -low. “
When asked if he fears for the safety of his parents born in China, still in Hong Kong, he replied, “I’d rather not talk about it. The more I talk, the more I put them in danger. I fear that my father is under surveillance, that he could be arrested. I don’t know if these things could happen.
He adds, “I don’t know when I’ll be back. I am not optimistic in the short term. I will continue to fight until democracy is won.
“I came to the UK because it has a very special relationship with Hong Kong, a historic obligation and ties to it. I hope Britain will continue to take this relationship seriously. China must be held responsible for its human rights violations. “