“It’s not immigration, it’s exile!”
Many Hong Kong people who have left the territory since China imposed the sweep National Security Act (NSL) almost a year ago do not know when – or ever – they will be able to return home.
Pro-democracy activists and elected politicians have come under increasing pressure since protests swept through the city in 2019. Some have been charged with security breaches that carry life imprisonment while others have been charged with life imprisonment. others are in prison for organizing and participating in the protests.
Thursday, the police arrested five senior executives of Apple Daily, a pro-democracy newspaper founded in 1995, accusing them of “collusion with foreign forces”, an offense under the NSL.
Hong Kong people have started to flee abroad against their will, to escape the risk of arbitrary arrest or to get away from a place they no longer recognize
On October 14, 2020, Hong Kong’s first protester was granted asylum in Germany, and since then countries like the UK, Canada and Australia have implemented various ‘lifeboat’ plans for Hong Kong pro-democracy activists in need of asylum.
The European Parliament also adopted a resolution calling on member states to participate in an international lifeboat program.
the British diet, launched on January 31, opens a path to citizenship.
About 34,000 Hong Kong people applied for visas in the UK within three months of its launch, according to the University of Oxford.
Some of those who have moved have enough savings to support themselves in their new home or transferable skills that make the job search easier. Others are less fortunate, forced to share cramped accommodation in the UK as they attempt to rebuild their lives thousands of miles from home.
They come from different parts of Hong Kong, are different people with different backgrounds, but they are united in their commitment to democratic freedom and in the fear of returning to where they once felt they belong.