We have no other choice’: as China erodes democracy Hong Kong citizens prepare to leave
Emigration is nothing new in Hong Kong. After the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration announced that Hong Kong’s sovereignty would return to China in 1997, emigration consultancy became a prolific business. The Tiananmen crackdown in 1989 spurred a wave of emigration, just eight years before the handover to China.
The government does not keep official statistics on the number of Hong Kongers moving abroad but emigration consultants say that the desire to leave jumped after the 2014 Umbrella Movement failed to force Beijing to grant Hong Kong people an unfettered vote to choose their leader and spiked again this year amid the recent protests.
Willis Fu of the Goldmax Immigration Consulting Co, says enquiries received by his company this year have doubled from last year. And the number of assessment forms it received – a measure of the number of people seriously looking into emigration – has grown from around 30 to 40 a week in March and April to 70 a week in June. The political mood in Hong Kong was clouded by the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown on 4 June and the extradition bill, which had been scheduled to pass on 12 June.