China immediately accused the UK of sheltering “needed criminals” after distinguished Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Nathan Regulation stated he had been granted political asylum there.
London and Beijing are at bitter odds over the destiny of Hong Kong, with Britain accusing China of tearing up its promise to keep up key liberties within the former colonial territory for 50 years after the handover.
Regulation stated on Wednesday he had been granted asylum in Britain, after fleeing the semi-autonomous territory following the introduction of sweeping Chinese language safety legal guidelines.
“The UK is clearly a platform for Hong Kong independence agitators, and supplies so-called shelter for needed criminals,” overseas ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian informed reporters.
Describing Regulation as a “prison suspect,” Zhao referred to as the transfer “gross interference” in Hong Kong’s judiciary.
“The UK ought to instantly appropriate its mistake, and cease interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China’s inside affairs,” he added.
Regulation, a 27-year-old former Hong Kong lawmaker and scholar activist, fled to the UK in July 2020 within the weeks after the Nationwide Safety Regulation, opposed by pro-democracy protesters, was imposed.
Regulation wrote on Twitter that he had been granted asylum within the UK after a number of interviews over a interval of 4 months.
“The truth that I’m needed beneath the Nationwide Safety Regulation reveals that I’m uncovered to extreme political persecution and am unlikely to return to Hong Kong with out threat,” he wrote.
The activist highlighted the plight of different asylum seekers within the UK from Hong Kong who won’t have the identical weight of proof behind their claims.
“I hope that my case might help the House Workplace perceive extra concerning the sophisticated state of affairs in Hong Kong.
“To free extra protesters from Beijing’s authoritarian oppression, the House Workplace might take into account extra complete proof,” he added.
Champion of democracy
Regulation’s destiny and the destiny of probably hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers who Britain has supplied a route to flee China’s crackdown, has change into a degree of bitter diplomatic competition between Beijing and London, which ceded the previous colonial territory in 1997.
China stated earlier this 12 months it won’t recognise the British Nationwide (Abroad) passport for Hong Kongers due to a brand new visa scheme launched in January providing a pathway to full UK citizenship for individuals who wish to depart the territory.
Beijing and London have in latest weeks additionally disagreed over Chinese language sanctions in opposition to 4 UK entities and 9 people together with lawmakers which have spoken out in defence of China’s Uyghur Muslim minority.
Final 12 months, Britain protested at jail phrases handed to a few main activists from the pro-democracy social gathering Demosisto, which Regulation cofounded.
The social gathering disbanded on the identical day China’s new safety laws was imposed in Hong Kong.
In exile, Regulation has continued to champion the reason for pro-democracy teams in Hong Kong on social media.
Final month, he hit out at mass trials of activists in Hong Kong saying that they confirmed that “the Chinese language Communist social gathering nakedly abuses its powers and makes use of the courts to exhibit that energy”.