Conflicts & War

National Security Law sees rise in Hong Kongers making dash for exit

By Shirley Lau

Hong Kong, Jun 30 (efe-epa).- Over the past four weeks, John Hu has been doing a roaring trade, but he has mixed feelings.

As a migration consultant, Hu delights at the five-fold increase in the number of new clients coming to him and needing his service.

As a native Hongkonger, he is saddened to see so many people are rushing to leave Hong Kong just as the Chinese government prepares to roll out a controversial national security law in the special-status city.

“Hong Kong is no longer the place it used to be. Many people with money and skills are quitting. I feel ambivalent,” said Hu, founder of John Hu Migration Consulting, which specializes in helping people migrate to the West.

Stories of resourceful Hongkongers leaving Hong Kong for good due to the territory’s political instability and deteriorating quality of life, among other factors, have been cropping up frequently in recent years.

In particular, over the past 12 months, a wave of migration has gathered momentum as the Asian financial center was rocked by a sweeping, sometimes violent, anti-government protests. But people’s urge to dash for the exit has never been so strong as it is now.

The game changer is Beijing’s surprise move last month to introduce a Hong Kong version of its National Security Law, which could punish acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and “collusion with foreign forces.”

Days later, the resolution was passed by China’s top legislature, the National People’s Congress (NPC).

Then on the morning of 30 June, the NPC’s Standing Committee unanimously approved the plan to impose the law on Hong Kong, even though most details on the legislation remained under wraps.

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