Growing concerns over political freedoms . . .
Two Hong Kong pro-democracy activists have announced they were granted asylum by Germany amid concerns about political freedoms in the Special Administrative Region of China. Ray Wong and Alan Li faced rioting chargesfrom a protest in Hong Kong that turned violent in February 2016. In the aftermath, both activists fled to Germany in November 2017 where they were initially granted protection and then eventually received refugee status in May 2018. Germany’s decision makes it one of the first Western countries to grant refugee status to residents of Hong Kong.
Meanwhile in Hong Kong . . .
The news about Wong and Li’s asylum status, which they only revealed this week, comes just one month after nine pro-democracy leaders were jailed in Hong Kong for their participation in the 2014 Umbrella Movement. Wong and Li said they announced their status in Germany in response to the recently proposed extradition law that would allow the transfer of criminal suspects from Hong Kong to China. Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam has said that her administration is determined to push through the extradition bill despite increasing local and global opposition.
Canada a welcoming place . . .
In 2018, Germany also actively pressured China to release the wife of Liu Xiaobo, a Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner and political dissident. China conceded, and she was eventually transported to Germany for medical treatment. Canada, as a country with close connections to Hong Kong, should keep a close eye on how China reacts to Germany’s asylum decision. With our own open-door policies towards refugees and asylum seekers, Canada would seem like a welcoming place for other Hong Kong pro-democracy activists.