China’s recent actions of imposing a draconian National Security Law in Hong Kong have rubbed the free world the wrong way. Hong Kong was till now the freest city in the People’s Republic of China which is why the West and other democracies invested in the city.
But by brutally enforcing the regressive National Security Law that robs Hong Kongers of all freedoms and liberties, Beijing has lost favour with the free world. Resultantly, the liberal world is trying to rescue Hong Kongers. The US, the UK, Taiwan, and Australia have announced measures to accommodate fleeing Hong Kongers. And now Japan too plans to woo financial talent from the Chinese city.
A day after China imposed the brutal security law upon the city, Japanese lawmakers started discussing ways to welcome the talent pool fleeing out of Hong Kong.
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party has establishment a new project team that suggested the creation of a more conducive atmosphere for accommodating talented professionals.
As Hong Kong turned autocratic, it also lost much of the charm as a global financial hub. Equations are going to change in Asia, and Japan feels that this is the opportunity to elevate Tokyo’s status as a financial giant in Asia.
A number of proposals are reportedly on the table including tax breaks and shortcuts to permanent residency in order to make Japan a preferred destination for those fleeing out of Hong Kong.
Shigeharu Suzuki, Chairman of the Japan Securities Dealers Association said that the legislation (National Security Law) is “not likely to affect financial markets right away, but I think [Hong Kong] will undoubtedly lose its position as a finance center.”
Takuya Hoshino of Dai-ichi Life Research Institute also said, “It’s important to provide incentives to talent that wants to come to Japan.”
Another option being discussed is bonus points to financial talent which can reduce the amount of time that such a professional visa holder has to stay in Japan before getting eligible to apply for permanent residency.
Tokyo already offers such bonus points in technology and other fields.
This is a significant development, as Hong Kong is a massive financial market that channelises investments into mainland China. This is why the city remains indispensable for China despite its economy being only 2.7 per cent the size of mainland China’s economy. It brings in money into the People’s Republic of China.
Driving the massive financial market are the people of Hong Kong- some of the best financial talents around the world. It is the openness of the erstwhile system in the city that promoted its financial prosperity.
But with the “one country, two systems” policy getting scrapped, other countries can steal China’s most prized asset from it.
Australia, which is already locked in diplomatic and trading wars, also wants to woo talent out of Hong Kong. Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the situation in Hong Kong was “very concerning” after China’s decision to push the draconian National Security Law.
Morrison has also said that Australia is “very actively” considering proposals to welcome fleeing Hong Kongers.
Hong Kong is an ex-British colony and the United Kingdom has already offered British citizenship to BNO passport holders.
Britain is all set to provide an additional 2.5 million Hongkongers with BNO passports. UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the country would move to scrap the six-month stay limit for BNO holders if China goes on to officially implement the law.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Secretary has also announced that the existing 3.5 million BNO holders would directly be eligible for residency and citizenship in the UK, a feature which they were earlier deprived of. Therefore, the UK is going to offer British citizenship to a total of 6 million Hong Kongers.
Meanwhile, Taiwan which is fighting for independence and separate recognition from mainland China has also emerged as the beacon of democracy in Asia.
An office called the ‘Taiwan-Hong Kong Office for Exchanges and Services’ has begun operations in Taiwan, and “it aims to provide friendly and streamlined services and basic care for Hong Kong citizens arriving in Taiwan in need of assistance, as well as for Hong Kong-based multinational companies and international corporations relocating to Taiwan,” the Mainland Affairs Council said in a statement.
Finally, the US is also stepping up efforts to accommodate disillusioned Hong Kongers.
A bipartisan group of American lawmakers has introduced a new legislation- the “Hong Kong Safe Harbour Bill”.
As per the proposed legislation, Hongkongers will now be eligible for Priority 2 Refugee status in the US. Further, after the enactment of the said Act, there will be no numerical limitation on the number of Hongkongers who can apply for and be granted asylum in the US.
Further, if Beijing revokes the residency of Hongkongers for applying for refugee status or a U.S. visa, then those individuals will remain eligible for refugee status as victims of political persecution.
The message of the democratic world to Hong Kongers is loud and clear- you don’t have to live under tyrannical CCP rule. The West and other democracies are creating safe havens for Hong Kongers. The world has thus joined to destroy the heart of China’s financial might.