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After serving jail time period over safety regulation, a Hong Kong pro-independence activist seeks asylum in UK

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HONG KONG — An activist who advocated for Hong Kong independence and was jailed beneath a sweeping nationwide safety regulation fled to Britain to hunt political asylum, in response to his social media posts Friday.

Tony Chung was among the many first convicted beneath the Beijing-imposed regulation that was launched after the 2019 pro-democracy protests. He was discovered responsible of secession and cash laundering in 2020 and sentenced to 43 months in jail.

In two Instagram posts Friday, Chung detailed how authorities intently watched him after he was launched from jail: He was requested to fulfill with nationwide safety authorities usually and report back to them on the place he had been, whom he had met with and his conversations, and authorities provided to pay him for data on others to show he had reformed himself. Additionally they proposed he go to mainland China.

Chung mentioned he was made to signal a doc that barred him from disclosing his conversations with the authorities, so he couldn’t search assist from any legal professionals nor inform anybody about his scenario.

“Underneath huge stress and concern, I can solely endure silently,” he mentioned.

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Hong Kong authorities didn’t instantly reply to The Related Press’ request for remark.

The intimidation confronted by Hong Kong dissidents like Chung displays the drastic erosion of the freedoms promised to the previous British colony when it returned to China in 1997. However each the Beijing and Hong Kong governments have hailed the safety regulation for bringing stability to town.

Earlier in December, distinguished pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow, who left Hong Kong for Canada and doesn’t plan to return to satisfy her bail situations, reported related strain from authorities. Her passport, confiscated earlier by police, was solely returned to her upon assembly sure situations, together with a go to to mainland China with authorities, she mentioned.

In an electronic mail reply to the AP, Hong Kong police mentioned Chow failed to point out up at a police station Thursday as required and violated her bail phrases, pledging they’d “spare no effort in bringing her to justice.”

Chung was convenor of the now-dissolved pro-independence scholar group Studentlocalism earlier than being arrested in 2020 close to america consulate in Hong Kong, the place media studies mentioned he hoped to hunt safety.

In line with his Instagram posts, Chung was beneath a supervision order by town’s Correctional Companies Division for a yr after his launch from jail, and was banned from talking publicly.

In September, he mentioned, nationwide safety authorities requested him to make a journey to mainland China, however he instructed them he was unwilling to take action. The authorities then requested him if he was being reluctant as a result of he was nonetheless concerned in actions endangering nationwide safety.

Chung mentioned he felt sick sometimes from October. Western and Chinese language medical doctors instructed him that his immune system weakened as a result of he was beneath big psychological stress. He later persuaded correctional companies authorities to let him journey to Okinawa, Japan, for a vacation to handle his feelings. Through the journey, he sought assist from organizations and folks based mostly abroad. He arrived in Britain from Japan on Wednesday to hunt asylum.

“This additionally means I can now not return to my house, Hong Kong, in foreseeable future,” he mentioned. “Though I had anticipated the arrival of today previously, I had a heavy coronary heart after I made up my thoughts.”

Sooner or later, Chung mentioned he would commit himself for his metropolis as a “Hong Konger in exile.”

“I consider solely when Hong Kong folks do not surrender, the seeds of freedom and democracy will sprout once more in the future,” he mentioned.

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