Since protests against the “Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act” between Hong Kong and mainland China in the summer of 2019, 470 Hong Kong citizens have sought asylum in six Western countries, according to research by the South China Morning Post. Australia (305) and Britain (121) accounted for the bulk of the applications. In Germany, three Hong Kong citizens applied for asylum last year, according to the German government. Two applications were granted, and one was rejected. Steve Tsang, director of the China Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, told SCMP that the fact that these countries are processing so many applications reflects a significant change in the perception of human rights situation in Hong Kong by leading Western democracies. However, asylum applications are fraught with lengthy bureaucratic hurdles. Of the 100 Hong Kong citizens who have applied for asylum in Britain in the last two years, only three have been successful. Seven were rejected, and 20 withdrew their applications. The rest is still waiting, the SCMP reports. nib
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