Nathan Law Kwun-chung
Nathan Law Kwun-chung is a politician and activist in Hong Kong. Law was active in student activism and participated the 2013 Hong Kong dock strike. He joined and became the chairman of the Representative Council of the Lingnan University Students’ Union and was the committee member of the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS). He later also became the acting president of the Lingnan University Students’ Union (LUSU). During the Umbrella Revolution, he rose as one of the student leaders and was one of the five student representatives to hold a talk in a televised open debate with the government representatives led by Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor with HKFS secretary general Alex Chow Yong-kang, vice secretary Lester Shum, general secretary Eason Chung, and another committee member Yvonne Leung in October 2014. He was also one of three student leaders at the heart of the Occupy protests whose Home Return Permits were revoked and were banned from flying to Beijing in an attempt to press their demands for genuine universal suffrage in November 2014. After the protests, he was arrested along with other student leaders. He then succeeded Alex Chow to become the secretary general of Hong Kong Federation of Students from 2015 to 2016. His secretaryship was highlighted by the disaffiliation crisis that saw localist students from member institutions trigger referendums to break away from the HKFS which was accused of making hasty decisions with little transparency during the Umbrella Revolution. Law campaigned against the referendum at the LU as the acting president of the LUSU which the referendum to break away from HKFS was defeated. However, three student unions of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HKPU), Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) and City University of Hong Kong (CityU) quit the federation in their referendums under Law's secretaryship, following the Hong Kong University Students’ Union (HKUSU) exit in February 2015.
In April 2016, Law and other leaders of the Umbrella Revolution, including Joshua Wong Chi-fung, formed a new political party—Demosistō—which aimed to fight for the self-determination right of Hong Kong people when the “one country, two systems” expires in 2047, where he became the founding chairman of the new party. He expressed his interest in running in Hong Kong Island in the 2016 Legislative Council election. Law received 50,818 votes, the second-highest among all candidates for the six-seat Hong Kong Island constituency and was elected. At age 23, Law was the youngest-ever person to become a Hong Kong legislator.
At the inaugural meeting of the Legislative Council, Law and other members used the oath-taking ceremony as a protest platform. Although Law’s oath was validated by the clerk, the oath-taking controversy sparked by Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching of Youngspiration led to the unprecedented legal challenge from Chief executive Leung Chun-ying and Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen. On November 7, 2016, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) interpreted of the Article 104 of the Basic Law of Hong Kong, standardizing the manners of the oath-taking when taking public office. As a result, the duo was disqualified by the court. Afterwards, the government launched a second legal action against Law and three other pro-democracy legislators, Lau Siu-lai, Yiu Chung-yim and Leung Kwok-hung, which resulted in their disqualifications from the Legislative Council on July 14, 2017.
Law, along with two other prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy student leaders Joshua Wong and Alex Chow, were jailed for six to eight months on August 17, 2017 for storming the Civic Square at the Central Government Complex at Tamar during a protest that triggered the 79-day Occupy sit-ins of 2014. On February 1, 2018, a bipartisan group of US lawmakers, led by Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) Chair US Senator Marco Rubio and co-chair US Representative Chris Smith announced they had nominated Joshua Wong, Law, Alex Chow and the entire Umbrella Movement for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, for “their peaceful efforts to bring political reform and protect the autonomy and freedoms guaranteed Hong Kong in the Sino-British Joint Declaration.”