Jailed activist Nathan Law says the future of his Demosisto party is unclear
In a four-part series in which the Post speaks to four ousted lawmakers – the city’s youngest elected official says serious discussions will need to be had on the future of his party
The city’s youngest lawmaker – Nathan Law Kwun-chung, 24 – was slapped with a five-year ban from public office after he was jailed for eight months in August for storming a government compound just days before the start of the 79-day Occupy sit-ins of 2014.
The verdict caught many activists off guard.
Yet, well before the court laid down its ruling, Law, in an interview with the Post, said he had already prepared for the end of his Legislative Council career.
He even doubted his party, Demosisto, would be allowed to run given what he called political suppression by the Hong Kong and Beijing governments.
“We have to consider how Demosisto should transform as its path in Legco may not work any more. We need to have two strings to our bow, and we can never live without a sense of crisis,” Law said, speaking in his Legco office just before he was forced to move out.
“We cannot take [running in elections] for granted ... Being too optimistic does not fit the political climate here in Hong Kong,”
It remains uncertain if Law, who raised his tone when he mentioned the People’s Republic of China in his oath, making the words sound like a question, will ever get a chance to run again.
“Beijing’s power is without constraint ... It may interpret the Basic Law tomorrow and say [chanting slogans to] end one-party dictatorship violates the Basic Law and all who go up on stage at the annual June 4 vigil are not allowed to run,” he said.
Law admitted the future direction of Demosisto, which he chairs, had yet to be settled.
“We have to consider how to develop in a sustainable way and [have] a unique status in civil society. It is a question that we have to spend time to discuss and think about,” Law said, adding that the party would hopefully maintain a district office, engagement with the international community and research on the city’s history.
However, a potential headache will be the loss of money coming from a Legco seat. Law said he donated half of his monthly salary – over HK$90,000 – to the party and the allowance had sustained 12 staff in his office.
Looking at the staff, who are mostly in their early 20s, busy packing up items in his Legco office, Law lamented that they had to rely on fundraising to support party work and their livelihoods.