Hong Kong has been suffering a brain drain after years of enduring first anti-democracy crackdown and more recently Zero Covid lunacy. The Telegraph has the story.
The brain drain that Hong Kong is suffering from as tens of thousands of mainly middle-class, educated professionals seek to escape has become so extreme that even Carrie Lam, the city’s Chief Executive was forced to acknowledge it this week.
“It’s an unarguable fact that we have a brain drain and some senior management of some corporates have left Hong Kong,” she said on Wednesday.
Ms. Lam tried to blame it on the city’s coronavirus restrictions, which have isolated the city with 21-day quarantines on arrival, flight bans and shut infected people away in sparse Government facilities.
But the city has seen more and more people leaving ever since the turbulent pro-democracy protests of 2019.
Hong Kong’s population plunged at a record pace in the 12 months that ended in June 2021, officially putting it at about 7.39 million.
Many Hongkongers have come to the U.K., which opened its doors to them following Beijing’s democracy crackdown.
By December 2021, the U.K. had granted 97,000 visas to Hongkongers under the BNO visa scheme it opened to its former colony in response to the unrest. The Government estimates that by 2026 about 320,000 people will take up the visa, which offers a path to permanent British citizenship.
More than 22,500 Hongkongers have also taken up Canadian permanent residency, work or study permits in 2021, up 256% from 2019.
It’s an exit that does not appear to be slowing down – 43,200 left between March 1st and 15th this year, with over 5,000 recorded on March 6th alone – triggering a bout of hand wringing.
“For a city with a rapidly ageing demographic, financial and legal systems built around high-end human capital, and a culture enriched by overseas workers, the brain drain is both detrimental and disappointing,” opined the South China Morning Post recently.
Teachers and other academics have been particularly hard hit. [John] Lau said he knew he had to leave after the arrest in January last year of 47 prominent pro-democracy figures, including several opposition politicians, who were charged with conspiracy to commit subversion.
He said he did not fear an “imminent” threat but thought it was wise to plan ahead as his pro-democracy views were known.
The academic world had already been shaken by suspicions that colleagues with a history of rights activism had mysteriously failed to have their contracts renewed. Many feared they were secretly being observed and monitored in the classroom.
Worth reading in full.