According to a prominent teachers’ organisation, primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong are seeing a continuous outflow of children as a result of a harsh national security law that has ushered in a citywide assault on public criticism of the authorities.
Hundreds of students are expected to quit Hong Kong schools before the summer holiday, according to a recent survey of 180 schools conducted by the city’s Professional Teachers’ Union. More than half of the schools reported that more than ten of their students were departing this semester, and four institutions reported an outflow of more than 50 students.
Many parents are leaving overseas, according to PTU President Fung Wai-wah, due to safety concerns, as a newly formed unit of national security police has begun detaining individuals for nonviolent political activities deemed injurious to Hong Kong.
In January, 47 pro-democracy activists and former opposition MPs were detained under the national security statute on suspicion of “subversion” for participating in a democratic primary election aimed at increasing the number of opposition members in the Legislative Council.
Carrie Lam, the chief executive, replied by delaying the LegCo elections until December, forcing the remainder of the opposition camp to quit en masse.
The government has also mandated that the city’s schools “inform” children on the national security law, as well as monitor both students and instructors for any signs of dissent within and outside the classroom.
Between 13,100 and 16,300 Hong Kong residents with British National Overseas passports and their families are expected to relocate to the United Kingdom as a result of the government’s response to the national security bill.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that a new visa programme for those intending to reside in Canada had received 6,000 applications since its inception in February.