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Days After New Law, Activist Flees Hong Kong

Newser — Rob Quinn

A prominent pro-democracy activist in Hong Kong has fled the territory days after China's introduction of a draconian new security law. Former student leader Nathan Law, who spent time in prison for his role in the 2014 pro-democracy protests, says he has left Hong Kong and will continue advocating for democracy from overseas, the BBC reports.

The 26-year-old says "based on risk assessment," he will not disclose his new location. Under the law—the contents of which were not made public until it was formally enacted Tuesday night—Law and other activists could face long prison sentences for activities considered subversive, including "inciting hatred" of the Hong Kong or Beijing governments.

"While the situation has been deteriorating in Hong Kong for the past year with regard to freedom of speech, no one could foresee that kind of acceleration," Law tells the Guardian.

"We did not think we would be in a situation that makes us consider fleeing." Law became Hong Kong's youngest elected lawmaker in 2016, but was not allowed to take his Legislative Council seat because the government decided he had taken his oath of office insincerely.

On Thursday, Hong Kong authorities banned the popular protest slogan "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times," deeming it "subversive" under the new law. Law says he is confident Hong Kong people will continue the fight despite the "bleak" situation.

He notes that to avoid being accused of displaying anti-China messages, some people are now turning up at protests holding blank placards.

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This article originally appeared on Newser: Days After New Law, Activist Flees Hong Kong