A pro-democracy campaigner who fled Hong Kong has told the BBC his life has become more dangerous because of a bounty offered for his arrest.
Nathan Law, who lives in the UK, is among eight exiled activists wanted by the territory’s police.
Authorities are offering rewards of HK$1 million (£100,581; $127,637) for information leading to their capture.
Mr Law said he needed to be “more careful” about divulging his whereabouts as a result of the bounty.
The eight activists targeted are accused of colluding with foreign forces – a crime that can carry a sentence of life in prison. The offence comes under Hong Kong’s draconian security law, which was imposed three years ago after widespread pro-democracy protests took place in 2019.
The UK’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said the UK would “not tolerate any attempts by China to intimidate and silence individuals in the UK and overseas.”
“We call on Beijing to remove the National Security Law and for the Hong Kong authorities to end their targeting of those who stand up for freedom and democracy,” he said in a statement.
Under the national security law, hundreds of pro-democracy campaigners have been arrested and convicted in Hong Kong.
Beijing has said the law is needed to bring stability to the city, but critics say it is designed to squash dissent.
The eight named in this announcement are all based in the UK, the US and Australia – countries which do not have extradition treaties with China.
“They have committed very serious offences that endanger national security,” Steven Li, chief superintendent of the national security department, said.
He added that while Hong Kong police could not arrest them while they remained abroad, they would not stop chasing them.
Mr Law, one of the most prominent figures in the pro-democracy movement, said that while he felt his situation was “relatively safe” in the UK, he would have to be more vigilant as a result of the bounty’s announcement.
“There could possibly be someone in the UK – or anywhere else – to provide informations of me to (the Hong Kong authorities). For example, my whereabouts, where they could possibly extradite me when I’m transiting in certain countries,” Mr Law said.
“All these things may put my life in to dangerous situations if I’m not careful enough of who I meet or where I go. It makes me have to live in a more careful life.”
Writing on Twitter, Mr Law urged others not to cooperate with the authorities on the matter and said: “We should not limit ourselves, self-censor, be intimidated, or live in fear.”
This sentiment was echoed by one of the other exiled activists – Anna Kwok, executive director of the Hong Kong Democracy Council – who said the bounty was aimed at intimidating her and her fellow activists.
“We are united in our fight for freedom and democracy in our home, Hong Kong,” she said in a statement.
Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong said her government was “deeply disappointed” by the announcement and said Australia “remains deeply concerned by the continuing erosion of Hong Kong’s rights, freedoms and autonomy.”
The other six activists named in the announcement are Ted Hui, Dennis Kwok, Mung Siu-tat, Elmer Yuen, Finn Law and Kevin Yam.
Source : BBC