China’s grip sparks new exodus from Hong Kong: WSJ

‘People were worried about the uncertainty before the handover in 1997, but now they are moving out because of the certainty’

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Chinese leader Xi Jinping (Photo/AP)

Chinese leader Xi Jinping (Photo/AP)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Hong Kong is reportedly experiencing a new exodus – the previous one occurring in the run-up to its transfer of sovereignty to China in 1997 – as an increasing number of people are becoming disillusioned with the direction the city is headed under the tightened grip of the Beijing government.

Concerns over the erosion of civil rights and deterioration in quality of life are part of the reasons triggering the emigration movement. A survey conducted by a local university in 2017 indicated that a third of respondents expressed interest in moving to other countries and 13 percent had made real preparations to leave, reported the Wall Street Journal.

Unlike the first exodus in the 1990s, during which a majority of Hong Kong residents emigrated to Canada, the U.S., and Australia, the new tide of migration sees a growing preference for destinations such as Taiwan and Malaysia for affordability reasons.

Between 2007 and 2017, the number of Hong Kong immigrants to Canada rose from 674 to 1,360, while Taiwan has seen the number of immigrants from Hong Kong and Macau soaring from 484 to 1,251, according to an analysis of data by WSJ.

The report suggested that China is expanding its presence in the special administrative region. Books criticizing China are disappearing, the stock exchange is increasingly dominated by Chinese firms, and incidents of political dissent suppression are happening more frequently. Frustration with the overall climate in Hong Kong is exacerbated by unaffordable housing.

“People were worried about the uncertainty before the handover in 1997, but now they are moving out because of the certainty,” the report quoted Paul Yip, an academic at the University of Hong Kong.