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Asia Minute: Hong Kong Losing Population

AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim

As authorities in Hong Kong crack down on political dissent, more people are leaving.

After 15 years of growth, the population of the city has fallen for the third consecutive six-month period — and the pace of departures is picking up.

According to figures released by the government late last week, the outflow was nearly 90,000 people in the first half of 2021, cutting Hong Kong’s population by 1.2%.

This follows the imposition of a strict and sweeping national security law which has caused some activists and others to leave the city.

The Hong Kong government doesn’t see a direct connection—with a spokesman saying people leave for many reasons, including education and work.

The South China Morning Post quotes a government spokesman as saying the coronavirus pandemic has slowed what usually would be a higher volume of those moving to the city.

The government figures did not include a breakdown of foreign residents leaving town, but a survey this spring by the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong found 42% of its members were considering or planning to leave the city.

Of those planning to leave, nearly two-thirds cited the national security law as a main reason.

The current population of Hong Kong is about 7.4 million people.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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