UK interior minister Patel meets Hong Kong activist Nathan Law

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Home Secretary Priti Patel speaks, October 1, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) -British interior minister Priti Patel met with Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Nathan Law in London on Wednesday, pledging to protect and uphold freedoms for citizens of Britain’s former colony.

The meeting was described as the first between the British government and Law since he arrived in Britain in July, having left Hong Kong after China imposed a new national security law on the territory that has been heavily criticised by the West.

“The United Kingdom will stand by the people of Hong Kong and keep our promise to protect and uphold their freedoms,” Patel said in a statement accompanied by an image of the roundtable meeting.

Britain has accused China of multiple breaches of the deal to hand the territory back to China in 1997. It says China’s security laws and moves to disqualify legislators have undermined Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy.

Law thanked Patel for her work in opening up a new route to British citizenship for almost three million people in Hong Kong.

Reporting by William James; Editing by Kate Holton