HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s democracy activist Nathan Law said he had been granted political asylum in Britain, where he arrived in July last year after Beijing introduced a comprehensive national security law over his hometown, which has been heavily criticized by the West.
The move will certainly offset tensions between London and Beijing as Britain opens its doors to potentially more than five million people in Hong Kong in the wake of controversial security legislation.
“After several interviews in four months, the home office has informed me that my asylum application has been approved,”
“The fact that I am wanted under national security law shows that I am being subjected to serious political persecution and is unlikely to return to Hong Kong without risk.”
The UK on Thursday called for £ 43 million ($ 59 million) to help them find jobs, housing and schools under the initiative that allows millions to resettle.
Britain has accused China of several violations of an agreement in which the semi-autonomous city was handed over to China in 1997. It says China’s security law and steps to disqualify pro-democracy lawmakers have undermined Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy.
Hong Kong and Beijing officials have said the law is crucial to closing gaps in national security, which is facing months of often violent protests in 2019. China has repeatedly called on Western powers to stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs .
Hong Kongers became the fifth largest foreign investor in central London last August and have driven prices up in some popular districts outside the UK capital.
London estimates that over 300,000 Hong Kong residents could emigrate over the next five years, and Bank of America expects Hong Kong residents moving to the UK to trigger a $ 36 billion capital outflow by 2021.
Reporting by Anne Marie Roantree; Edited by Stephen Coates