Self-exiled activist Nathan Law has hit back after the city’s security chief said he was “extremely furious” that the ex-lawmaker accepted an invitation to speak at the upcoming Summit for Democracy in the US.

Law, who left Hong Kong just before the enactment of the Beijing-imposed national security law last June, announced on Monday that he had been invited by US President Joe Biden to speak at the summit, to be held on Friday.

Nathan Law. Photo: Nathan Law, via Twitter.

Secretary for Security Chris Tang wrote in a blog post published on Tuesday that Law was attempting to “slander the Central and SAR governments, spreading political lies” by accepting an invitation to speak at the summit, “using ‘democracy’ as a façade.”

“He betrayed Hong Kong; his actions are shameful,” wrote Tang. “He published anti-Chinese speeches on multiple occasions, provoking the public’s hate towards the Central and SAR governments, it fully exposes his sinister intentions.”

Law told HKFP on Wednesday that it was “strange” that the US Summit for Democracy was criticised, as “from China’s standards, it’s already ‘interfering [with] other country’s internal affairs.”

“I am campaigning for a democratic and free Hong Kong. If it’s considered ‘secession’ and ‘subversion’ by Beijing, it only shows the political suppression from them,” said Law. “It does not embarrass or stigmatise me. I will continue to do what I think [is] good for the city’s freedom.”

Tang also said that Law “made secessionist and subversive statements on multiple occasions, allegedly breaking the ‘Hong Kong National Security Law,” and that the activist’s actions were “despicable.”

‘Utterly absurd’

The security chief also accused Law of “inciting voters to ignore the Legislative Council election,” which will take place on December 19, and that the 28-year-old “allegedly violated the Elections Ordinance, and possibly even the national security law.”

Secretary for Security Chris Tang. File photo: RTHK, via video screenshot.

The activist said in response that it was “utterly absurd to criminalise the appeal to boycott the election.”

“How come the act of not voting is legal, while advocating [for] it is illegal? I would not be intimidated by this nonsense,” said Law.

The security chief ended his blog post with a call for voters to take part in the city’s first “patriots-only” legislative election “in order to not let these shameless people win.”

In March, 2021, Beijing passed legislation to ensure “patriots” govern Hong Kong. The move reduced democratic representation in the legislature, tightened control of elections and introduced a pro-Beijing vetting panel to select candidates.

The Hong Kong government said the overhaul would ensure the city’s stability and prosperity. But the changes also prompted international condemnation, as it makes it near-impossible for pro-democracy candidates to stand.

Law became the youngest Legislative Councillor at the age of 23 in 2016. He was disqualified 12 days after taking office over the oath-taking controversies.

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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.