The Hong Kong government has issued 100,000 work visas in the first nine months of this year. This goes part of the way to replace population loss owing to emigration prompted by NatSec/Covid regimes, which has seen maybe as much as a fifth of university-educated 20-40-year-olds leave (estimates vary according to exact time scale and age range and guesses on educational levels based on household income figures per district).
Will such rapidly found replacements have the same level of skills as the departed? Nearly all seem to be from the Mainland – so perhaps that is the most important qualification.
The American Chamber of Commerce is worrying not only about the vagueness of the NatSec law but the decreasingly ‘diverse and international’ character of the city’s business community. Its sizable parallel Policy Address notes…
…the continuous focus and rhetoric in the name of national security and concerns on “foreign forces” have a negative knock-on effect on the overall presentation of a “welcoming image” for foreign businesses and tourism.
The Chamber would like to think that NatSec, emigration, reputation and diversity can somehow be separated. It’s all the same thing.
Asia Nikkei (probably paywalled) op-ed warns that the Internet is ‘getting smaller’ in Hong Kong. One concern is new powers quietly given to telecoms regulators last year, which came to light in the recent JPEX enforcement action…
The new language on “blocking transmission or delivery of calls or messages and suspension of service due to fraudulent use” mandates that licensees must carry out “necessary actions” upon request by the authority or “any relevant law enforcement agency.”
The vagueness of terms like “fraudulent use,” and the broad scope of power vested to any “law enforcement agency” to initiate content removal could easily lead to abuse. The public and the media have no way of knowing whether or how many times this power has actually been invoked.
Another is the authorities’ tactics in combatting the song Glory to Hong Kong…
Hong Kong’s secretary for justice applied for a court injunction to ban the song from being stored, played or broadcast on the internet.
The authorities apparently wanted to avoid the negative repercussions for businesses if it indicted a global internet platform operator like YouTube under the Hong Kong National Security Law.
…Common to the authorities’ approach in both the JPEX and “Glory” cases is a strategy of bypassing normal administrative and legislative processes that might give more room for public discussion and input.
…Alleged scams like JPEX and incidents such as ransomware attacks on public bodies such as Cyberport and the city’s Consumer Council will undoubtedly be used to justify the need to give citizens “more protection” from online dangers.
Indeed, the government remains keen to enact a cybersecurity law and a misinformation law, as well as local national security legislation against treason, theft of state secrets and other offenses in the next year or two.
Which raises a broader question: how are ‘normal administrative and legislative processes that might give more room for public discussion and input’ doing anyway?