Pro-independence HK lawmaker slams protesters' attacks

(From left) Taiwan Sunflower Movement leader Lin Fei-fan, Hong Kong politicians Nathan Law, Edward Yiu, Joshua Wong and Eddie Chu, and Taiwan lawmakers Huang Kuo-chang and Hsu Yung-ming at an event hosted by the New Power Party in Taipei on Sunday, a
(From left) Taiwan Sunflower Movement leader Lin Fei-fan, Hong Kong politicians Nathan Law, Edward Yiu, Joshua Wong and Eddie Chu, and Taiwan lawmakers Huang Kuo-chang and Hsu Yung-ming at an event hosted by the New Power Party in Taipei on Sunday, aimed at linking democracy movements in Hong Kong and Taiwan.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

HONG KONG • Hong Kong pro-democracy legislator Nathan Law yesterday condemned the "violent attacks" by pro-China protesters at the city's airport on his return from a political forum in Taiwan.

The 23-year-old encountered protesters in the arrival hall on Sunday. They shouted, threw liquid at his face and tried to hit him as police struggled to bundle him through.

Protesters shouted: "Trip and die!" and one called him a "traitor". They also held banners that read: "Get out of Hong Kong" and "Destroy Hong Kong independence".

Two people were arrested, according to local media reports.

Police were not able to immediately confirm any arrests.

The protests came after Mr Law and other high-profile Hong Kong pro-democracy activists, including Mr Joshua Wong, were greeted by protests in Taipei as they arrived for the forum last Saturday.

The two-day event was aimed at linking democracy movements in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

"There is never justification for violence, not even in the name of patriotism," Mr Law said in a statement. "I will continue to fight for democracy and the right of self-determination of Hong Kong people."

At a press conference yesterday, he described the attackers as an example of "gangster politics" and accused the Chinese Communist Party of trying to suppress democratic movements.

Fellow pro-democracy lawmaker Eddie Chu, who also travelled to Taiwan, said there was now a "globalised... anti-democratic violent network" controlled by Beijing.

Both men are among a new group of legislators who support the idea of self-determination for semi-autonomous Hong Kong - a notion that has infuriated Beijing, which resumed sovereignty in 1997.

Two pro-independence lawmakers were last year barred from taking up their seats in the legislature.

Mr Law and three other pro-democracy lawmakers will face a court hearing next month that will also seek to disqualify them.

The forum in Taipei was hosted by Taiwan's New Power Party, which is advocating recognition of Taiwan as a nation.

The Hong Kong activists' visit provoked a hostile reception from groups on the island who support reunification with China, over what they see as a joint independence movement.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 10, 2017, with the headline 'Pro-independence HK lawmaker slams protesters' attacks'. Print Edition | Subscribe