Thursday, 13 Aug 2020

China’s influence will extend overseas without ‘global pressure’, Hong Kong refugee warns

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China “will always be authoritarian” if there isn’t “a firm, assertive attitude” towards them, according to a former Hong Kong lawmaker. Speaking to Channel 4 News, pro-democracy activist Nathan Law warned that the Beijing’s influence will “extend overseas” if the world does not stop “wishful thinking” about the state. Mr Law previously served time in prison for his role in protests in Hong Kong and has now fled the city after China imposed the sweeping new national security law last week.

He gave insight into the situation: “The short-term future may seem bleak for Hong Kong, but I believe with the global effort, there will be democracy and freedom.

“Of course, for now, China seems so powerful.

“But structurally there has been a great change from appeasing China to a more assertive attitude.”

Mr Law did not agree with the Chinese ambassador to the UK, who labelled the British Government’s resettlement offer to millions of Hong Kong British nationals a “gross interference”.

He said: “The crux is not interfering in internal issues, but to hold China accountable to the global society and Hong Kong.

“For the past decade, there has been so much wishful thinking towards China.

“In the UK and the US, there has always been rhetoric saying that China will open up itself and be democratised.

“But the truth is these all were wrong.”

The activist continued: “So from now on, we need to understand that without global, coherent, multilateral pressure, China will always be authoritarian and extend its influence overseas.

“So I think for now we need a more firm and assertive attitude towards it.”

Mr Law added that he is “worried” for his family and friends still in Hong Kong who are now on the Chinese Government’s “radar” because of their association with him.

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Those close to him could be prosecuted or reprehended because he is being “targeted”.

He urged the international community to “apply pressure” to stop the Chinese Communist Party doing “worse things”.

China’s new legislation is the most radical change to the former British colony’s way of life since it was returned to the state almost 23 years ago.

Mr Raab has accused China of a “clear and serious breach” of the 1984 joint declaration signed with the UK.

Beijing defended the legislation by claiming that they hadn’t broken a treaty because the Joint Declaration was only a declaration.

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