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Hong Kongers are more interested in migrating than celebrating their return to China

Shirley Lau

Hong Kong, June 30 (EFE) – On July 1, Hong Kong pro-Beijing elite and Chinese President Xi Jinping mark the 25th anniversary of their return to China at the City Elephant Convention Center under tight security. From the then British colony.

But less than two weeks ago, in the same place in Van Chai district, 50,000 Hong Kong people gathered at a kind of international immigration “market” where expert consultants on the subject offered conferences and provided useful information about emigration on their stands. In other countries, from Australia to the United Kingdom or Ireland.

There was even a booth dedicated to those who wanted to go with pets, and the number of attendees at the event set a record this year since it started in 2020.

This interest underscored the desire of many residents of the former colony to leave a quarter of a century after they returned to the Communist Party of China with the promise that Hong Kong would enjoy a high degree of independence for at least the next half century.

A survey of approximately 35,000 people at the event showed that 60% of respondents plan to emigrate within the next two years and 19% of them plan to do so within the next six months, in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. The three most desirable directions.

However, the Hong Kong government is not concerned about this trend.

Newly-elected CEO John Lee, who will be sworn in on the first day, recently said that people will return to Hong Kong as soon as strict anti-Kuwaiti restrictions are eased, arguing that the city is a “bridge” on the mainland between China and the rest of the world. .

The coronavirus pandemic has already caused outrage among locals and expatriates in recent months over the former colony’s extreme containment policy, closing one of the world’s toughest borders.

This year alone, the Greater Asia Financial Center has lost more than 150,000 inhabitants.

But travel restrictions, which include a questionable one-week hotel quarantine for travelers, are seen as only a short-term factor.

A big concern for the Hong Kongers in the future is the political situation in the city, which has received a sharp 180-degree turnaround since Beijing enacted a national security law in June 2020 in response to a massive anti-government protest in 2019. A few months.

This regulation punishes crimes such as sabotage, terrorism, secession and conspiracy with foreign countries with punishments that can lead to life imprisonment. Still tried.

Major forms of activism, such as peaceful protests and chanting, are now threatening prison. Media outlets critical of the situation were forced to shut down, disbanding many civil society groups, and leaving the city parliament without opposition MPs.

This tense scenario has led to a growing number of Hong Kongers leaving the city by 2020.

Farewell dinners for gone friends and relatives have become commonplace in the calendars of former colony residents, and students have become accustomed to coming to class and discovering that someone in the class, the other, left without saying goodbye.

“The news says that about 8000 children have left and it works for an average of 30 students in the school. In me, he has left more than 20 in the last year, ”a teacher told Efe, who asked not to be identified.

The caregiver said that many people who leave it do so with concern about their children’s future.

“There is less and less freedom here. We were not afraid of criticism of the government before, now you do not know where the line between criticism and sabotage goes. “Parents are not sure about the future,” he said.

Access to opportunities is also an incentive for those who want to leave their city, as after the enactment of the National Security Act, Western countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia offer migration facilities to Hong Kongers with their highly regarded professionals. Profiles and their financial resources.

The UK-based organization Hong Kong Watch released a proposal among Canadian lawmakers this month to make it easier for activists, protesters and journalists, among others, to obtain work permits in the country.

Thus, brain drain has become a new problem in the former colony, although there are still those who decide to stay.

This is how Max, an award-winning middle-aged screenwriter, told Efe: “Many Hong Kong people are afraid of losing this ship and leave because they see others doing it. I wonder how political prisoners feel when they watch this. “My conscience does not allow me to leave.”

Source: El Diario

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