(File photo) Mass exodus in Hong Kong Photograph:( Reuters )
Since 2020, about 89,200 people, i.e., more than 1 per cent of Hong Kong’s population, have left the island, according to its Census and Statistics Department data
Hong Kong—a special administrative region of China —had been able to manage its affairs with little autonomy based on the “one country, two systems.”
Unlike China, Hong Kong relatively enjoyed the freedom of expression, basic civil and pollical rights and access to information.
However, all that changed after China in 2020 passed a wide-ranging new security law for Hong Kong which reduces the city's autonomy and makes it easier to punish protesters.
The security law, which came into effect in July 2020, criminalises secession, subversion and collusion with foreign forces and carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Since it was introduced, more than 150 activists, journalists and pro-democracy politicians have been arrested, with around half of them charged, AFP reports.
The new law has triggered a mass exodus of people as the Chinese government continued to crack down on pro-democracy protesters.
Since 2020, about 89,200 people, i.e., more than 1 per cent of Hong Kong’s population, have left the city, according to its Census and Statistics Department data.
In search of basic liberty, the Hongkongers have been seeking asylum in many countries, as far away as Ecuador.
According to Taiwan’s National Immigration Agency, more than 10,000 people moved from Hong Kong to Taiwan in 2020, the most on record and nearly double the number from 2019.
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Such migrations continued in 2021, with more than 5,000 landing in the first seven months of the year.
An even more popular destination for Hong Kong migrants has been Britain.
According to data from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, more than 65,000 Hongkongers applied for vias in 2021.
Similarly, the number of people seeking asylum from mainland China has risen sharply during the past decade, from 7,732 in 2010 to 108,071 in 2020.
(With inputs from agencies)