A file photo of police detaining a pro-democracy protester during clashes in Hong Kong. The new security law has forced several Hong Kongers to move to Taiwan. Photograph:( AFP )
Hong Kong people seeking an alternative to the city's frenetic pace and sky-high rents have been attracted by democratic Taiwan for a long time
Nearly 11,000 Hong Kongers moved to Taiwan in 2020 after Beijing imposed a sweeping security law on the city. The figure is almost double the number of a year earlier.
Hong Kong people seeking an alternative to the city's frenetic pace and sky-high rents have been attracted by democratic Taiwan for a long time.
The new security law has just accelerated an exodus. According to Taiwan's National Immigration Agency, the number of Hong Kongers granted short-term residency soared to 10,813 from 5,858 in 2019.
The previous record was 7,506 in 2014 during the financial hub's pro-democracy 'Umbrella Movement'.
The number of arrivals would have been higher if there wouldn’t have been border restrictions due to coronavirus scare, Taiwan's Liberty Times newspaper quoted unnamed sources as saying.
Fearful of a potential influx from the authoritarian mainland, Taiwan does not have an asylum or refugee law, nor does it accept refugee applications.
Hong Kongers can, however, apply to live on the island through other channels, including investment visas.
President Tsai Ing-wen's government has vowed support for Hong Kong's democracy movement and launched a new office last year to deal with Hong Kongers seeking to stay on the island.
An increasing number of Hong Kong people, including some prominent activists, have gone into exile after local authorities stepped up prosecutions based on the national security law.
A dozen activists were also arrested by the Chinese coast guard in late August when they tried to flee the city to Taiwan by boat.
Most of those aboard the vessel had been charged in Hong Kong for alleged offences linked to last year's huge and often violent pro-democracy protests.
Canada has also emerged as a favourite destination, aided by a network of activists, who have helped people escape Beijing ever since the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.
Britain has also extended residency rights for nearly three million Hong Kongers eligible for British National (Overseas) passports, those born before the former colony's 1997 handover.