TAIPEI: Nearly 11,000 Hong Kongers moved to Taiwan in 2020 – virtually double the variety of a yr earlier – after Beijing imposed a sweeping safety legislation on town.
Taiwan has lengthy attracted Hong Kong individuals in search of an alternate to their metropolis’s frenetic tempo and sky-high rents.
But a brand new safety legislation has accelerated an exodus, and the variety of Hong Kongers granted short-term residency soared to 10,813 from 5,858 in 2019, in accordance to Taiwan’s National Immigration Agency.
The earlier report was 7,506 in 2014 through the monetary hub’s pro-democracy “Umbrella Movement”.
Taiwan’s Liberty Times newspaper quoted unnamed sources as saying the variety of arrivals would have been greater if not for COVID-19 border restrictions.
Taiwan doesn’t have an asylum or refugee legislation, nor does it settle for refugee purposes – scared of a possible inflow from the mainland.
Hong Kongers can, nevertheless, apply to dwell on the island by different channels, together with funding visas.
The authorities of President Tsai Ing-wen has vowed help for Hong Kong’s democracy motion and launched a brand new workplace final yr to take care of Hong Kongers in search of to keep on the island.
An rising variety of Hong Kong individuals – together with some outstanding activists – have gone into exile after native authorities stepped up prosecutions primarily based on the nationwide safety legislation.
A dozen activists have been arrested by the Chinese coast guard in late August after they tried to flee town to Taiwan by boat.
Most of these aboard the vessel had been charged in Hong Kong for alleged offences linked to final yr’s big and sometimes violent protests.
Canada has emerged as a favorite vacation spot, aided by a community of activists who’ve helped individuals escape Beijing ever because the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.
Britain has additionally prolonged residency rights for practically three million Hong Kongers eligible for British National (Overseas) passports – these born earlier than the previous colony’s 1997 handover.