Hundreds of Hong Kong residents were reported to leave the city to immigrate to other nations as the Chinese Communist Party ramps up its crackdown on free speech.
According to Radio Free Asia, a sudden surge of immigrant application was recorded for Hong Kong to the United Kingdom for the first half of 2021 at 15,000 due to the Chinese government's "draconian national security law." This is reflected by the increase in applications for certificates of no criminal record with the Hong Kong police, a document required in the processing of immigration applications.
RFA cited a Bloomberg research that showed around 13,100 to 16,300 families are estimated to migrate to the United Kingdom this 2021 on British National Overseas (BNO) passports, which were extended by London after the effects of the National Security Law were made clear. This data is said to reflect the growing fear among Hong Kong residents for their lives and security in the city who has removed Liberal Studies from the local academe's curriculum and replaced it with "national security education."
"Emigration fever has been mounting in recent months, with applications to police for certificates of no criminal record, a prerequisite for many immigration applications, rising to more than 15,000 in the first few months of this year," RFA said.
The National Security Education was launched by Hong Kong authorities in schools last April to teach students on CCP ideologies. The Hong Kong authorities released a circular that mandated schools in "upholding national security is the constitutional responsibility of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region."
Chinese authorities were reported last May to increase pressure on citizens in obedience to the National Security law and even on Christians, such that Christians like Baptist Convention Leader Reverend Lo Hing-choi left the city for good with his family due to the "shrinking freedom" from the government. Hing-choi was said to leave behind a congregation of 80,000 members.
Now even ordinary citizens are leaving Hong Kong due to the same fears. RFA said that hundreds flocked to the airport bound for the United Kingdom and other nations on July 1, which coincides with the annual anniversary of Hong Kong's turnover to China in 1997 by the British government.
RFA said the scene in the airport last Thursday was reminiscent of the scene in 1997 were many fled the city in fear of the Chinese rule. Many grieved and cried as they departed with loved ones prior to boarding their planes. The outlet interviewed many people who were leaving Hong Kong for good but only did so because they were forced by the "oppressive political" conditions happening there.
"I really don't want to go: there are so many things I don't want to leave behind. Hong Kong, my family, my friends. All the things that have happened in the past few months, just make me feel powerless: I can't bear to watch the news," revealed a woman with a surname Lee that RFA interviewed.
While another interviewee, a family of four who requested anonymity, raised the need of finding a safe and secure for their kids as a reason for leaving Hong Kong amidst fears of what will happen to them when they reach the United Kingdom.
"The most important thing to do next is find somewhere to live. Yes, I'm upset, but I'm afraid it can't be helped. I fear we may encounter discrimination when we get to the U.K., and I am also worried about finding schools for the kids," one of the family members said to RFA.