Hongkongers and expats mourning the loss of Hong Kong’s soul

Published:  13 Jul at 6 PM
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As the Hong Kong crisis escalates, Hong Kong expats living in the UK are welcoming Britain’s offer whilst mourning the loss of the city’s soul.

The British government’s offer to millions of Hong Kong residents of a pathway to UK citizenship is being welcomed by those expats already in the UK, but it’s being criticised for not being open to many of those desperate to leave. Coincidentally – or not, those Hongkongers born after the then colony’s return to rule by China in 1997 were those most active in the 2019 protests.

One anonymous expat now working as a financial analyst in London told reporters it’s a message of hope, adding many are desperate to escape the city. His relatives are still on the island, and he’s very worried about those who’re at university age. Many, he added, left their universities to join in the pro-democracy protests and may well be under suspicion now. The British government has offered sanctuary in the UK to all Hongkongers with British National Overseas passports and their dependents including children under 18 years of age. Those who accept can stay for five years before applying for British citizenship.

However, only 350,000 people have the required passports out of an estimated 2.9 million who’re entitled to the status. Another issue is that the offer seems to ignore large numbers of Hong Kong residents who failed to apply for the passport at the time of the handover as its benefits couldn’t be gifted to children or grandchildren after their holders passed on. The majority of demonstrators are from this generation, are all targets of the island’s Chinese government and have suffered for years under its rule.

Even so, the many who either can’t afford the cost involved in UK immigration plus the cost of relocation will miss out, and others may not be able to adjust to a totally different lifestyle. In spite of the negatives, a good number of Hongkongers who’d been contemplating relocation have now realised the city will never regain its former vibrancy and charm as it’s lost its soul to a Communist regime.
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