34,300 Hong Kongers Apply for British Visa to Leave “A City That Is Lacking Freedom”

(p. B1) LONDON — Lin Kwong had a good life in Hong Kong. She taught sports management part time at a college and chaired an amateur drama club. Her young son, Chee Yin, was doted on by his grandparents. She had friends and favorite restaurants. But in February, she made the difficult decision to leave it all behind.

“Nothing is as difficult as staying in a city that is lacking freedom,” she said.

In the year since China imposed a sweeping national security law on its territory of Hong Kong, a former British colony, tens of thousands of people have made plans to leave the city. And like Ms. Kwong, many are headed for Britain, where holders of British National Overseas (B.N.O.) pass-(p. B3)ports have been given a pathway to work and citizenship. In the first quarter of the year, 34,300 people applied for the special visa, according to Britain’s immigration department.

. . .

Ms. Kwong often posts on social media, wanting to show the benefits of life in Britain. At a memorial in London last month on the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, she posted a photo of a lit candle. In Hong Kong, the long-running annual vigil had been banned.

At a protest in London on June 12, hundreds of Hong Kongers marched through the city center chanting “Fight for freedom!” and “Stand with Hong Kong!” Organizers wore masks with a Union Jack pattern, and sang “God Save the Queen.”

For the full story, see:

Isabella Kwai and Alexandra Stevenson. “Departing Hong Kong For New Life.” The New York Times, First Section (Monday, July 12, 2021): B1 & B3.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the story was updated July 31, 2021, and has the title “Hong Kong Migrants Seek Fresh Start in U.K. After Crackdown.”)

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