Responding to a question about Wong and Li, Hong Kong police said they would not “make any comment on this case as legal proceedings are in progress.”
“In general, the police will, according to the circumstances of the case, track down the whereabouts of the suspects and arrest them by all possible means,” a police spokesman said.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang would not comment on the case in question, but said that issues in Hong Kong “are also China’s internal affairs.”
“Other countries don’t have the right, nor should they interfere, in such affairs, no matter what made-up excuses they use,” he said.
Wong told the Times that “if the German government thinks that the Hong Kong judiciary is independent, they would not grant me refugee status. It’s because they think that Hong Kong uses the judiciary to persecute Hong Kong people.”
Hong Kong officials argue the extradition law is necessary to close loopholes in current legislation that make it difficult to transfer suspects to countries and territories with which the city does not have an extradition treaty.
Fled to Germany
Wong and Li jumped bail in 2017 and traveled to Germany, where they applied for asylum, according to the Times.
Examples of persecution include “legal, administrative, police and/or judicial measures which as such are discriminatory, or are applied in a discriminatory manner (and) disproportionate or discriminatory prosecution or punishment.”
Under the “one country, two systems” principle adopted when Hong Kong was handed over from British to Chinese rule in 1997, the city became a special administrative region of China but retained its legal and political systems, including freedoms of speech and assembly not enjoyed in mainland China.
While it is unclear under what grounds Wong and Li received asylum, independence activists have faced increasing political pressure in Hong Kong since 2016. Last year, the government banned a separatist party for the first time, reiterating its “zero tolerance on ‘Hong Kong independence’.”
Proponents of Hong Kong independence and of greater legal autonomy from Chinese rule have been barred from standing for election, and disqualified from the city’s legislature.