I went to my first NatSec-era ‘leaving party’ a couple of weeks back – a farewell gathering for someone who had decided to get out of Hong Kong sooner rather than later. A small sign at the door stressed that the proceedings would remain confidential, but let’s say that among topics of conversation were: Are we being paranoid? Are we being paranoid enough?
Everyone has their own red lines. For some it is obviously personal or family safety. For many (maybe the majority of emigres so far?) it is kids – their education and their long-term happiness. For a fair number of us, it might be creeping Internet censorship and surveillance, or the nagging possibility of asset-seizure or a summary exit-ban. For some, maybe a fall in rents, or lack of an attractive alternative location, might tilt the balance in favour of staying in the only place they call home. At least until things get worse.
Online news outfit Initium is moving to Singapore, which is an odd, but maybe telling, choice. It is not a rabid anti-CCP operation.
Veteran journalist Steve Vines is moving to the UK after reportedly receiving threats – probably as a result of outspoken hosting of RTHK TV current affairs shows.
For context – Simon Cartledge’s diary in LRB…
Beijing knows it doesn’t have the support of most of the population and that the only way forward is coercion…
Trust between the government and the population is in tatters. This will take decades to play out. It’s too early to say who’s fucked.