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Hong Kong population exodus accelerates in 2023

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The exodus of Hong Kong residents accelerated this year, with 291,000 residents leaving through mid-August, marking the highest level since record-keeping began in January 2020. Almost 500,000 residents have left since the beginning of 2021. This is not surprising, as the Chinese Communist Party continues to dismantle the rule of law and crush basic human rights in the city.

The Hong Kong Court of Appeal overruled the convictions against Jimmy Lai and six other pro-democracy activists for organising an unauthorised assembly in 2019, after the jail sentences were completed. Their convictions for participating in an unauthorised assembly were upheld. Sebastien Lai, son of Jimmy Lai, said, “The sad truth is that this changes nothing. My father’s wrongful conviction for organising the assembly of 18th August 2019 has been overturned. But today’s decision does not undo the damage done to my father for promoting democracy.”

The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation signed a letter alongside more than 30 organisations calling on China to immediately release missing Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng and to end enforced disappearances. Gao disappeared on the 13th of August six years ago.

Hong Kong

The Guardian underscored how the Hong Kong authorities use gangster tactics such as hostage-taking to produce chilling effects on the freedoms of Hongkongers in Hong Kong and abroad. This includes Hong Kong’s continued attack against the Hong Kong Eight who have HK$1 million bounties for their arrest.

The Financial Times reported that Hong Kong’s reputation as a global legal hub is in jeopardy after the Hong Kong government placed HK$1 million bounties on two lawyers in the US and Australia and denied Jimmy Lai his lawyer of choice.

Jimmy Lai

The Associated Press released an exclusive picture of British citizen Jimmy Lai walking through Hong Kong’s Stanley prison, as China’s most famous political prisoner approaches 1,000 days in custody.

The Times explained why the fate of Jimmy Lai should worry us all. “Not only because he is a British citizen. Not only because it reflects on the way that Britain was duped by China over the return of Hong Kong. But also because, day by day, Beijing is making it clear that whatever glowing future it envisages for China will always depend on the mechanisms and entrapments of a police state,” wrote Roger Boyes.

UK-China Relations

The UK Home Office launched a Priority Visa service for the Hong Kong British National (Overseas) route. This service will provide eligible Hongkongers with visas in five working days should they need to urgently flee from Hong Kong government repression.

The University of Surrey is providing safe haven to Hong Kong scholars who have sought refuge from Hong Kong’s “chilling environment” for social science researchers.

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