With China all set to implement its draconian national security law on Hong Kong, the residents are making preparations to flee to Taiwan and other countries fearing persecution.
According to reports, since last year, the number of applications for police certificates required to migrate to some other country has soared almost 80 per cent to nearly 21,000 in the latter half of 2019 from a year earlier.
The protesters fearing persecution are also seeking refuge in Germany, the Netherlands and the United States.
“You don’t know what they can accuse you of under the new law…Would joining a strike be considered a subversion of state?” Ho, a nurse at a hospital rehabilitation ward in Hong Kong said.
She had joined a protest urging the pro-China government to close it borders with China amid coronavirus pandemic. Ho, however, now has to flee Hong Kong due to the impending national security law.
Her husband who is uncertain about his future in Taiwan, was quoted as saying that he is ready to even work in a restaurant because “Having my freedom of speech is worth more.”
“In many ways, it feels like we are refugees, fleeing a war,” he added.
While Taiwan is welcoming the fleeing Hong Kongers with open arms, China has warned Taipei of serious retaliation for offering protection to “rioters”.
Hong Kong Free Press quoted Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen as saying: “The Executive Yuan will propose a comprehensive and concrete plan as soon as possible. The plan includes Hongkongers’ right of abode and settlement. If the situation in Hong Kong worsens, and its autonomy and human rights are further suppressed, we will resolutely voice our concerns… We will continue to support Hongkongers’ determination to strive for democracy and freedom which are paramount to its peace and stability.”
The Taiwan government will be setting up a dedicated officer to support the Hong Kong citizens migrating to Taipei for political or other reasons. The office will help cover living expenses for needy people, give consultation services for schooling, job-hunting, and starting businesses.
Recently, the British government also opened up a route to citizenship for nearly 3 million Hong Kong residents as China reneges on its 1985 Sino-British joint agreement giving Hong Kong a level of autonomy for at least 50 years under the ‘one party, two systems’ plan.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the legislation was a “clear and serious violation” of the joint declaration between the UK and China over Hong Kong’s future.
“It violates Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and is in direct conflicts with Hong Kong’s basic laws. The law also threatens freedoms and rights protected by the joint declaration,” PM Johnson said.
“We made clear that if China continued down this path we would introduce a new route for those with ”British National Overseas” status to enter the UK, granting them limited leave to remain with the ability to live and work in the UK and thereafter to apply for citizenship, and that is precisely what we will do now,” he added.