Hong Kong democratic activist
Nathan Law is a young Hong Kong activist, currently in exile and based in London. During the Umbrella Movement in 2014, Nathan was one of the five representatives who took part in the dialogue with the government, debating political reform. Upholding non-violent civic actions, Nathan, Joshua Wong and other student leaders founded Demosistō in 2016 and ran for the Legislative Council election. Nathan was elected with 50,818 votes in the Hong Kong Island constituency and became the youngest Legislative Councilor in history. Yet his seat was overturned in July 2017 following Beijing’s constitutional reinterpretation, despite international criticism. Nathan was later jailed for his participation in the Umbrella Movement. The persecution sparked global concern over Beijing’s crackdown on human rights and democratic movement in Hong Kong.In 2018, Nathan and his fellow student activists Joshua Wong and Alex Chow are nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by US congressmen and British parliament members. Due to the risk imposed by the draconian National Security Law, Nathan left Hong Kong and continues to speak up for Hong Kong people on the international level. In 2020, he was listed as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME. In March 2021, he was named a Pritzker Fellow at the University of Chicago's Institute of Politics. In December 2021, Nathan was invited as the only speaker from Hong Kong in “Summit for Democracy” hosted by the Biden administration, and delivered a speech which reminds everyone how important our democratic values and freedoms are.
Autocratisation trends have galvanised democracies from across the globe and sparked civic awakening worldwide. Throughout 2022 major protests occurred in Iran, Georgia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, China and Hong Kong, as citizens worldwide took to the streets to demand their rights. This session will showcase the story of four activists and how they are planning to achieve a more democratic future for their countries. With Zaza Abashidze (RealPolitika), Leila Alikarami (Lawyer and human rights advocate), Nathan Law (Hong Kong democratic activist) and Olga Rudenko (The Kyiv Independent). Moderated by Hardy Merriman (International Center on Nonviolent Conflict).