Aged 23, Nathan Law became a global icon when he was elected to Hong Kong’s legislature on a pro-democracy mandate. Today he lives in London in a political asylum. This is his story.
Nathan Law has experienced first-hand the shocking speed with which our freedom can be take away from us, as an elected politician arrested simply for speaking his mind.
He remembers what it is like to lack freedom – hiding from the authorities as a child, and his father’s precarious three-day escape from China on a small raft.
When authoritarianism makes gains around the world, demanding our silence as the price of doing business, it poses a challenge to democracy everywhere.
As a student leader of the Umbrella Revolution, the democratic movement which brought the city to a standstill in 2014, and later a founder and elected legislator of the Demosistō party, he became a hero to millions across the globe who believe in the right to self-determination.
Jailed for his work as a pro-democracy activist, he now lives in London in asylum. In conversation with Oxford Professor and bestselling author of The New Silk Roads, Peter Frankopan, Law will argue that we must defend our freedom now or face losing it for ever. He will explore the ways in which freedom can be taken from us and, crucially, what can be done to uphold and protect democracy around the world.
He says: ‘By relating the fall of Hong Kong through my experience of activism, imprisonment and exile, and drawing on examples of similar struggles all over the world, I intend to illustrate how vital yet fragile freedom really is. The price of freedom is that we must constantly guard against injustice. It is like oxygen: we don’t notice it until we cannot breathe. Don’t take it for granted, and act now.’