By Kelly Ho and Tom Grundy

Hong Kong pro-democracy group Demosisto has announced it will disband, saying that the resignation of several key members in light of the national security law made it difficult for them to continue their operations.

File photo: Demosistō via Facebook.

The group announced on Facebook on Tuesday afternoon that it respected the decisions of leading members Joshua Wong, Nathan Law, Agnes Chow and Jeffrey Ngo, who decided to step down hours after China’s top legislative body passed a law that is set to criminalise secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference in Hong Kong.

“Demosisto believes it will be difficult for the group to maintain its current operation… members should use more flexible means to join in protests,” the group wrote on Facebook. “[We] now announce to disband immediately on this day and suspend all committee affairs.”

The group was founded in 2016 as a political platform and sought to field candidates for legislative elections. However, its nominees were repeatedly barred from standing for election with authorities citing their stance on “self-determination” for the city.

‘Political imprisonment’ fears

Announcing his resignation earlier in the day, Wong said that – under the newly-passed legislation – it was no longer “nonsense” for pro-democracy figures to worry about their lives and personal safety. He cited concerns over a 10-year “political imprisonment,” as well as being extradited to China, saying “no one could be sure [what would happen] tomorrow.”

“I believe at this moment, there are countless pairs of eyes in the world caring about Hong Kong, and gazing at my personal situation under the national security legislation. I will continue to defend my home – Hong Kong – until they silence, obliterate me from this piece of land,” Wong wrote.

Meanwhile, pro-independence groups Studentlocalism and the Hong Kong National Front said they would wind down their Hong Kong presence and – instead – operate from abroad.

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Hong Kong Free Press is a new, non-profit, English-language news source seeking to unite critical voices on local and national affairs. Free of charge and completely independent, HKFP arrives amid rising concerns over declining press freedom in Hong Kong and during an important time in the city’s constitutional development.