Erecting sanctions and cutting ties . . .
As the Hong Kong National Security Law moved towards the implementation phase, some countries took up sanctions against China. Since June, the U.S. has begun to eliminate Hong Kong’s special status by halting defence exports, restricting access to technology products, and imposing visa restrictions against Chinese officials responsible for undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy. It is moving to penalize financial institutions that do business with said officials. Hong Kong could lose its special trade status within the World Trade Organization, effectively making Hong Kong like other mainland Chinese cities. Last week, Canada joined the U.S. in sanctioning China by banning sensitive military items and halting extradition to Hong Kong. On June 30, Global Affairs Canada cautioned Canadians travelling to the city of the “increased risk of arbitrary detention on national security grounds” and possible extradition to mainland China. In the private sector, software companies such as Microsoft, Zoom, and Facebook stopped processing data for the Hong Kong government.
Mass exodus looms . . .
As many fear that freedom is eroding in Hong Kong, some countries have started paving the way for people who choose to move aboard. In June, the U.K. announced that it would offer the ‘right to remain’ for nearly three million Hong Kong citizens, including 350,000 British National Overseas passport holders and 2.5 million people eligible for the passport. Under the plan, migrants will be allowed to live and work in the U.K. for five years. At the five-year mark, they can apply for settled status and apply for citizenship after one more year. The U.S., Australia, and Canada are also reportedly considering to provide refuge to fleeing Hong Kongers.
Taiwan, a long-time target of Beijing, offers help . . .
From the beginning, Taiwan has been no bystander to the Law, as its very existence as a self-ruled island is a direct contravention to Beijing’s definition of national unification. Shortly after China announced its intention to introduce a national security law in Hong Kong, Taiwan signalled that it would provide humanitarian aid to politically persecuted Hong Kong residents. On July 1, one day after Beijing passed Hong Kong’s National Security Law, Taipei unveiled the new Taiwan-Hong Kong Services and Exchanges Office. This government office will be helping migrants from Hong Kong apply and resettle in Taiwan if they enter legally. For its part, Beijing offered the usual rebuttal, accusing Taiwan of harbouring “rioters” and nurturing a “separatist plot.”