Jul 7, 2020 - World

Activist Nathan Law on the future of Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement

Nathan Law

Nathan Law. Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

Nathan Law, a former lawmaker and prominent pro-democracy activist in Hong Kong, announced on July 2 that he had fled the city.

Why it matters: Law's departure represents the dire situation for pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong — and the hope they still have to continue their fight from afar.

What he's saying: Law spoke with Axios over the phone on July 3 about how he views the future of international advocacy, given the new security law's prohibitions.

On his decision to leave:

"For me it was definitely a tough choice. When you decide to leave, you commit to something that the Communist Party will definitely target. Doing international advocacy work means that I may have to risk that I will not be able to go back for years, and leave behind my family and my cat and all the connections I've built for the past two decades."

On the future of the pro-democracy movement:

"The Hong Kong movement is pretty much alive. If you look at the turnout rate of the rally on the very first day of the implementation of the national security law, the first of July, there were more than 100,000 people marching down the street regardless of the huge risk of being imprisoned for years. You can see the bravery and the tenacity inside the movement. I think we still have some grassroots and street movement. ... Even though the future is bleak, but we could see hope from the people that they are fearless."

On how the world should respond:

"We should join hands. We should form a coordinated alliance, a united front to contain the expansion of authoritarianism from China. And the world should have an agreement that we place human rights over business interests for the sake of our values, for the sake of democracy."

Go deeper: With new security law, China outlaws global activism

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