Hong Kong, Nathan Law goes overseas after the first arrests following the security law

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BEIJING – Staying with the risk of being indicted for your ideas? Or leave, continuing your battle in exile? The new draconian national security law promulgated by Beijing for Hong Kong is putting pro-democracy activists in the city, especially those with “localist” positions, facing a tragic dilemma. The first to have decided to leave, a choice announced yesterday via social networks, is one of the most famous faces of the opposition, the 26 year old Nathan Law.Former student leader during the umbrella revolt, then founder together with Joshua Wong of the Hong Kong Demosisto self-determination movement, Law said “goodbye” to his city, explaining that he will continue his activism abroad. On Wednesday he testified before the American Congress reiterating the slogan “freedom for Hong Kong”, words that today the city government has confirmed to be punishable under the new law as an invitation to secede. Law has not disclosed his destination, since last year he was attending a PhD in the United States.

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For those who have doubts about the harshness with which the (vague) terms of the norm will be interpreted, the Hong Kong authorities are sending a clear message in these hours: with extreme harshness. On Wednesday July 1, during the first protest after the entry into force, some people were arrested simply because they had flags or flyers praising the independence of the city, despite Hong Kong’s laws guaranteeing freedom of expression.Today the 23 year old Tong Ying-kit, was the first person officially indicted for violating the new law. He would have driven his motorbike towards a group of agents waving a flag with the words “free Hong Kong”, the accusations against him are “incitement to secession and terrorism”, the foreseen penalties go up to life imprisonment. The court was chaired by one of the first magistrates chosen by Governor Carrie Lam to judge national security cases, testifying that the parallel legal machine created by the law, according to many a coup to the rule of law in Hong Kong, is already in operation. Today Beijing also appointed officials to lead the new central government bodies in the city, the head of the national security agency and the local government adviser.

The great unknown now concerns the other citizens of Hong Kong on the front lines in the protests of the past few months, the demonstrators on the barricades or the activists for democracy, especially considering that the penalties provided for by the law go as far as life in prison. Joshua Wong, A 23-year-old face symbol of the movement, said he was the “main target” of the norm and some Chinese media today report an indiscretion, currently unconfirmed, that he left his home in Hong Kong together with his family. Being under investigation for organizing an illegal assembly, he had been prevented from leaving the city in recent months. Wong also testified before the US Congress and the Chinese media repeatedly called him “colluded” with foreign forces.

Various governments, from the United Kingdom, to Taiwan, to Australia, have expressed in various capacities the willingness to offer protection to the exiles in Hong Kong. Thursday Simon Cheng, a former British consulate employee in the city, detained for two weeks in China last year on charges of exploitation of prostitution, and allegedly tortured, announced that he was granted asylum in the UK, suggesting that Hong Kong refugees could create a government in exile. London has pledged to secure a residence permit and citizenship route to 3 million citizens of its former colony who possess, or qualify for, a British overseas passport.



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https://www.repubblica.it/esteri/2020/07/03/news/hong_kong_fuga_nathan_law-260861111/

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