Sweden has granted political asylum to a Hong Kong journalist and activist, ruling that he would otherwise “risk arrest” in the city for activities that would be “considered in breach of the national security law”.
The Swedish Migration Agency made the ruling in April, but Narayan Liu, who was born in Taiwan but raised in Hong Kong, is now going public with the news – having received his residency documents this month.
It is believed to be the first asylum award for a Hongkonger in the European Union to explicitly cite the national security law, which Beijing rolled out in June 2020.
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“When returning to Hong Kong, you risk arrest as the activities you have undertaken would be considered in breach of the national security law,” read a 10-page award, seen by the South China Morning Post.
The news was first reported by Kinamedia, a Swedish online news outlet.
Swedish authorities judged that Liu’s overseas campaigning for Hong Kong’s democracy movement would be considered a breach of the law, which has seen more than 180 political opponents, journalists and activists jailed in the city in the past two years.
Liu, who has lived in Sweden since 2013, founded a number of campaign groups including Bauhinias for Freedom and Free Hong Kong, and served as president of Befria Hong Kong, another pressure group.
The authorities cited the law’s assertion that “incitement to separatism, subversion, terrorism and collusion with protagonists is punishable”.
They pointed to the fact that Liu had “collaborated with high profile speakers and … [has] received media exposure both in Sweden and Hong Kong”.
“The Migration Board therefore considers that if you return to Hong Kong you risk persecution because of your political views,” read the note, adding that “the law is also applicable extraterritorially, which would include the activities you have carried out in Sweden”.
Source: Yahoo! Finance