The UK’s only Chinese-born parliamentarian is leaving Northern Ireland politics because of continued racist abuse by loyalists.
Anna Lo said she had had enough of the attacks and would not run again for the centrist Alliance party in the next round of Stormont assembly elections in 2016.
Hong Kong-born Lo, a Northern Ireland resident for four decades, said she was also considering leaving for good because of enduring sectarianism and now rising racism.
Lo, who represents South Belfast in the regional parliament, also cited first minister Peter Robinson's support for a born-again Christian preacher's depiction of Islam as “the spawn of the devil” as a reason for wanting out of Ulster politics.
She is the first Chinese-born politician ever to have been elected to a British regional assembly or parliament.
In an interview with the Guardian on Thursday, Lo, said she had been shaken by a recent incident during the European election campaign when a loyalist mob followed her out of an east Belfast shopping centre.
"They started hurling abuse at me and I decided to get out of Connswater shopping centre as quickly as possible. About three or four individuals then followed me to the car park but I kept ahead of them walking as quickly as I could. Even when I got inside my car there was a young girl who climbed out of the wound-down window of a parked car and started shouting vile things at me. If I hadn’t decided to act quickly and get out of there I don’t know what would have happened to me."
She also revealed that her two sons had been trying to persuade her to join them in England because of their concerns for her safety.
"What can I do? I know they are worried about me but I have just bought a house and I have so many friends here. But I am seriously considering it."
The Alliance party’s European election candidate, who gained 44,432 first preference votes in the poll last week, was scathing about Robinson’s support for Pastor James McConnell, who denounced Islam as evil during a sermon a fortnight ago.
"To support a lunatic who makes remarks like that is adding fuel to the flames in Northern Ireland.
"In the last few weeks there have been two to three racist incidents per day in Belfast and other parts of Northern Ireland.