In Western democracies, they have been welcomed as refugees escaping Beijing’s tightening grip over Hong Kong.

In China, they have been denounced as violent criminals escaping punishment for their seditious activities.

A group of Hong Kong activists who have been granted asylum in the United States, Canada and Germany in recent weeks are the latest catalyst for deteriorating relations between China and the West. Western leaders have asserted that they will stand up for human rights in Hong Kong, while Chinese officials have rebuked the countries for what they called interference in Beijing’s affairs.