Canadian pundits expect expat exodus from Hong Kong

Published:  13 Jun at 6 PM
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As the Hong Kong protests against China’s extradition bill continue, China watchers in Canada are predicting an expat exodus.

At the present time, some 300,000 Canadian expats are living and working in Hong Kong and are becoming increasingly worried about China’s long-term intent for the colony. The extradition bill would seem to have been a step too far for Hong Kong’s population in general, bringing a million onto the streets in protest. It’s being assumed that orders from Beijing provoked the Hong Kong government’s decision to propose the extradition law, which allows China’s authoritarian state to order the extradition of Hong Kong citizens for trial on the mainland.

The protests have caused a delay in the scheduled parliamentary debate over the bill, with police using tear gas and rubber bullets in an attempt to disrupt the massive crowd – which isn’t expected to stop any day soon. Hong Kong is a hub for expats from across the world, with many having lived and worked long-term in its commercial powerhouse. A good number have their families with them, and would need to return home should the situation escalate to a dangerous level.

Hong Kong citizens are highly protective of their freedoms, hard won during the 1997 negotiations marking the end of British rule, as well as distrusting China’s justice system and its motivations for the islands’ future. The recent Chinese detention of two Canadian citizens accused of stealing state secrets is seen as a tit-for-tat and none too subtle warning to Canada after its USA-prompted arrest of one of Huawei’s senior executives. As regards Hong Kong’s huge expat community, it’s a strong possibility this protest will provoke more police violence, thus persuading a good number of expats they’d be far safer in the home country.
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