Frances Hui has become the first Hong Kong to activist be granted political asylum in US, her advocacy group said on Friday.
Hui said in a Twitter statement on Friday that asylum was granted last September, but she kept it quiet until Thursday, while the situation was resolved.
Though the process can take years, Hui said her application was approved within six months. “Fleeing has never felt so real until this point. My heart sank as I realized I am about to spend the rest of my life away from home,” she wrote.
It is unclear if Hui is being sought by the Hong Kong authorities. When approached by HKFP on Friday, the Security Bureau said it would not comment on individual cases.
“Anyone who violates the law should be responsible for his or her own behaviour, and the HKSAR Government strongly condemns any attempt seeking to evade legal liability. Persons who are wanted for prosecution of offences and have absconded from Hong Kong are fugitive offenders. The HKSAR Government will hold all fugitive offenders criminally responsible and make them face the sanctions of the law,” a spokesperson said.
They added: “We strongly object to jurisdictions harbouring criminal fugitives, and urge foreign politicians to stop interfering in the affairs of the HKSAR.”
‘Haunted by painful trauma’
On Thursday, Hui thanked her supporters and said she had been “haunted by painful trauma, expectations politics and life changes” leading to mental and physical issues that prompted her to take a step back from the spotlight. “I am eager to use my story and knowledge to help those who are seeking asylum in the US, and those who intend to,” she added.
Hui now heads the US-based advocacy group We The Hongkongers.
In a Friday statement, the non-profit said that Hui’s successful asylum bid “indicates that the US government has acknowledged the Hong Kong government’s constant practice of persecuting political dissidents, who are prompted to seek asylum or protection from other states.”