Hong Kong democracy activist Nathan Law granted Britain’s political asylum

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong democratic activist Nathan Law said he received political asylum in Britain, where he arrived last July after Beijing imposed a comprehensive national security law in his hometown, which was harsh. criticized by the West.

The move is sure to increase tensions between London and Beijing as Britain opens its doors to potentially more than five million Hong Kong residents following contentious security legislation.

“After several interviews over four months, the Home Office informed me that my application for asylum was approved,” Law said on Twitter late on Wednesday.

“The fact that I am wanted by national security law shows that I am exposed to severe political persecution and it is unlikely that I will return to Hong Kong without risk.”

Increasing sweeteners to attract Hong Kong residents, Britain pledged £ 43 million ($ 59 million) on Thursday to help them find jobs, homes and schools under the initiative that allows millions to resettle .

Britain has accused China of multiple violations of an agreement that brought the semi-autonomous city back to China in 1997. It says China’s security law and measures to disqualify pro-democracy legislators have undermined the high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong.

Hong Kong and Beijing officials said the law is vital to plug national security defenses exposed by months of often violent protests in 2019. China has repeatedly told Western powers to stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs.

Hong Kong residents became the fifth largest foreign investor in central London last August and have been raising prices in some popular districts outside the British capital.

London estimates that more than 300,000 Hong Kong residents may emigrate in the next five years, and Bank of America expects Hong Kong residents who move to Britain to trigger $ 36 billion in capital outflows in 2021.

Reporting by Anne Marie Roantree; Stephen Coates edition