Not too long ago, our opinion pages featured Nathan Law, the pro-democracy protestor and youngest ever Hong Kong legislator.
He lives in the UK now, alongside thousands of others from the territory, hounded out of their homes by ever more draconian crackdowns ordered by Beijing and enacted by Hong Kong’s supine authorities.
Now Nathan, and seven fellow Hongkongers, have something else to worry about. Yesterday Hong Kong’s police issued a $100,000 bounty on their heads, a reward for information on their whereabouts.
Parking for a minute the idea that the famously paranoid Beijing intelligence services don’t know exactly where Law is at all times, it is a handy reminder that when dealing with the Chinese dragon one must be aware that those teeth are sharp, and unyielding.
What has happened to Hong Kong is a tragedy, nothing more, nothing less. What was once an imperfect but fundamentally democratic territory is now just an extension of Beijing, with global finance firms either turning a blind eye or (famously in the case of HSBC) supporting anti-protest crackdowns.
Whether the continuing exodus of firms from Hong Kong to Singapore persuades Beijing that they’ve made the wrong call is a separate point.
All that matters now is that Nathan, and the other seven, are safe from persecution. The UK government must stand up for that, at least.