Lifeboats for Hong Kong people
Updated: Dec 8, 2020
It's a sad fact that some people are calling it quits on Hong Kong (HK).
I am not referring to those people of means who have been double-dealing on the SAR and the mainland, who have banks accounts and property or businesses set up in other jurisdictions outside China, all the while feigning their allegiance to "the motherland". Yes, it is distasteful that sycophants prance through the necessary hoops to maintain their status and advantage, all the while contributing to the misery and oppression of countless others left behind under the totalitarian state.
No, what I am referring to are ordinary Hongkongers who don't feel comfortable living in the SAR since its government and legal system no longer represents and protects them. It has been reported more than once since protests began in 2019 that the numbers of people looking to emigrate HK is on the rise. Since the Chinese Communist Party CCP imposed National Security Law (NSL) on the SAR without proper public consultation in May 2020 the impetus to leave the city has only grown.
Of course there are some people who have been actively enaged in freedom fighting protests, civil disobedience, or other pro-democracy, and anti-government activity who now find they are the subject of physical attack, doxxing, police intimidation, court cases, police surveillance and imminent arrest. For them HK has become such an unsafe place that quite a number have sought or are considering their options for seeking asylum, or political refugee status (see our blog: Never Give Up!). Not every country is welcoming; others are taking their time mulling the issues over.
Making any move away from the city you have generally considered your home or your birthplace is difficult, and not something people would do lightly. WTPOHK understand that each person's circumstances and stomach for life under the gaze and authoritarian rule of the CCP are different. Taking the route out of the SAR, whatever pathway is open to you, should not be considered a shameful resignation, giving up the fight or an act of weakness.
Though some media sources have tried to provide a quick reference list of the countries that could be considered 'friendly' towards resettlement by HongKongers, it is something of a nightmare. Each state has its own political processes to go through, legislation to enact, application procedures, screening and vetting that effectively creates a worrying minefield for potential emigrants. Every step of the way the CCP bleats condemnatory remarks about "foreign interference", and issues threats and directives against all and sundry.
Not everyone holds a B.N.O. (British National Overseas) passport that might grant them special consideration in the UK context. All this is even before any migrant considers what life might be like once they depart the SAR for life in a new state.
There are so many issues to consider, not limited to a few of these:
How much cash do they need?
What is their age?
Do they have dependents?
What employment skills and qualifications do they have?
What language skills do they have?
Are they prepared to enrol in tertiary education?
What kind of visa is being offered?
Do they have family or contacts overseas (or left behind in HK)?
What is their current health status?
How will their intended destination view a criminal record?
Furthermore, events and circumstances mean eligibility can change virtually overnight:
3 June 2020, Boris Johnson offers refuge, citizenship to 3 million Hong Kong residents, Fox News
1 July 2020, Hong Kong: UK makes citizenship offer to residents, BBC
2 July 2020, China vows to retaliate if Britain extends Hong Kong citizenship plan, Independent
23 October 2020, China warns UK not to offer citizenship to Hong Kong residents, BBC
16 October 2020, China warns Canada against granting Hong Kongers sanctuary, today
12 November 2020, Asylum-seekers from Hong Kong need more help from Canada, advocates say, The Star
12 November 2020, Canada announces immigration measures supporting Hong Kong residents and Canadians in Hong Kong, Business Insider
12 November 2020, Canada announces new, expedited immigration pathways for Hong Kong residents, Global News
12 November 2020, Canada Widens Welcome Mat for Hong Kongers Amid China Crackdown, Bloomberg
12 November 2020, Measures to support Hong Kong residents, including youth, to come to Canada, Government of Canada
13 November 2020, Canada Widens Door For Hong Kong Immigrants, Will Give Asylum Despite China's New Law, Republicworld.com
15 November, 2020, Canada eases visa rules for young Hongkongers citing ousting of lawmakers and security law, HK Free Press
16 June 2020, Unrest in Hong Kong sees pro-democracy protester seeking asylum in Australia, ABC News
2 July 2020, Australia drafting plan to offer safe haven to Hong Kong residents, Scott Morrison says, The Guardian
26 November 2019, Some Hong Kong Protesters Are Seeking Refuge In Taiwan. For Taiwan, It's Complicated, NPR
28 May 2020, Taiwan Begins Accepting Hong Kong Activists Seeking Asylum, Breitbart
3 June 2020, Taiwan braces for 'surge of refugees' from Hong Kong, Nikkei Asia
2 July 2020, Why Taiwan’s Assistance to Hong Kong Matters, Foreign Policy Insider
28 October 2020, Why India should provide asylum to pro-democracy activists from Hong Kong, Wion
23 May 2020, Germany grants asylum to two Hong Kong pro-democracy activists, DW.com
21 October 2020, Hong Kong protester granted asylum in Germany was sexually assaulted in refugee camp, Coconuts
22 October 2020, Germany Grants Refugee Status To 22-year-old Hong Kong Protester Seeking Asylum, RepublicWorld.com
24 October 2020, As China Clamps Down, Activists Flee Hong Kong for Refuge in the West, The New York Times
27 October 2020, Hong Kong activist Tony Chung detained while trying to seek asylum at US consulate, The Telegraph
29 October 2020, Hong Kong teenage activist detained after reportedly planning to claim asylum at US consulate, CNN
14 November 2020, You can’t go home again: Hong Kong activists abroad suffer separation from families and threats even while overseas , HK Free Press
Some Considerations and Resources for People Considering Leaving Hong Kong to Seek Asylum (July 2020, U.S. Source of Global relevance)