British Home Secretary Priti Patel pledges support in meeting with exiled activistsLocal | 10 Dec 2020 9:14 am
British interior minister Priti Patel met with Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Nathan Law in London on Wednesday, pledging to protect and uphold freedoms for citizens of Britain’s former colony.
The meeting was described as the first between the British government and Law since he arrived in Britain in July, having left Hong Kong after China imposed a new national security law on the territory that has been heavily criticized by the West.
“The United Kingdom will stand by the people of Hong Kong and keep our promise to protect and uphold their freedoms,” Patel said in a statement accompanied by an image of the roundtable meeting.
Britain has accused China of multiple breaches of the deal to hand the territory back to China in 1997. It says China’s security laws and moves to disqualify legislators have undermined Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy.
Law thanked Patel for her work in opening up a new route to British citizenship for almost three million people in Hong Kong.
Patel also met with Ms Li, whose brother Andy has been imprisoned by the Chinese government and Shaun Bailey, Conservative Candidate for London Mayor – who hosted the session, The SUN reported.
Law, said: “The BNO scheme means a lot to Hong Kong people who had tasted freedom but gradually losing it. It helps them to live free from political persecution.
“I am very grateful to the Home Secretary Priti Patel for her effort in crafting this policy and we had a constructive dialogue about it.”
Mayoral candidate Bailey arranged the meeting as “London is a global city with global responsibilities.”
He added: “I am impressed by the bravery and courage young Hongkongers have shown in standing up for their rights and freedoms.
“I want Hong Kong citizens to know that if they come to London, they’ll be welcomed with open arms.”
Ms Li added: “It would give my brother some comfort to know I was at this meeting.
"He, like many Hong Kong people, has sacrificed their freedom and possibly lives to raise awareness about what is happening to our home.
“We thank the Home Secretary, and hope that the UK will do more in the face of the total destruction of our way of life.”