TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Within two hours of the passing of the contentious Hong Kong national security law in Beijing on Tuesday (June 30), four prominent Hong Kong activists have announced they are leaving pro-democracy party Demosistō.
The full articles of the law have yet to be announced, but the central government is expected to set up an office in Hong Kong to collect and analyze intelligence and deal with criminal cases related to national security. The law will also allow Chinese authorities to exercise jurisdiction in Hong Kong, degrading freedom of expression in the city.
Soon after the law was passed, Joshua Wong (黃之鋒), Agnes Chow (周庭), Nathan Law (羅冠聰), and Jeffrey Ngo (敖卓軒) simultaneously announced their intention to leave the fledgling pro-democracy political organization which they had co-founded in 2016, saying they will continue to fight for the democracy as individuals instead of as a party, according to local media reports.
The decision is believed to have been made to avoid endangering their fellow party members, given that the repressive law will impose harsh penalties on political dissidents in Hong Kong — with a minimum sentence of 10 years.
Wong announced that he was stepping down from the post of Demosistō secretary-general and leaving the party, saying he will honor his beliefs as an individual.
"I know there are many people in the world keeping a wary eye on Hong Kong government and worried about me, but I will stay here to safeguard my home, Hong Kong, until [the Chinese Communist Party] removes my name from this place."
Law, Chow and Ngo also announced the decision on their FB pages. "As one of the founders of the party, leaving Demosistō is a heavy decision... Farewell, my comrades, let's carry on in different ways, as a bitter winter is right in front of us," Chow's FB post reads.