Richmond and the rest of the country can expect an influx of Hong Kong-based Canadians returning if the Hong Kong extradition bill passes.
That’s according to Ken Tung, a public affairs commentator for “News-Talk,” a Fairchild Radio program in Richmond, and also the former chair of S.U.C.C.E.S.S.
Tung was speaking to the Richmond News amid continuing fears among Hong Kong residents, concerned that the proposed extradition bill with China will limit the freedom of speech of Hong Kong citizens and be subject to China’s legal system.
On July 9, Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, declared the unpopular extradition bill “dead,” in the wake of high profile protests from a reported one million residents.
However, protesters are demanding that Lam completely withdraw the bill.
According to a report by the Asia Pacific Foundation in 2011, there is an estimated 300,000 people in Hong Kong who are Canadian passport holders.
“China’s economy is very strong, but right now they don’t have a fair justice system to protect the people and workers,” said Tung.
Rebecca Fung, a Richmond resident who emigrated from Hong Kong 17 years ago, said, “From what I know, there will be a group of people who has the ability and (are planning) to come back to Canada.”
She added that she knows people who cannot come back to Canada because they didn’t declare non-residency or their immigration process was unclear.
“I worry about (my relatives’) living standard onwards (in Hong Kong) because they are working in an unfair environment,” said Fung.
“If the government doesn’t do their job well, the society’s living standards will deteriorate and decline.”
Ken Tung thinks that the return of Hong Kong Canadians will not affect the City of Richmond too much, because Richmond and other Metro Vancouver cities have developed experience in dealing with increasing population.
Fung, meanwhile, said she often suggests to her Hong Kong-based relatives and friends that Richmond is a place to set up a new life, because Richmond has a nickname of “little Hong Kong” and that she has “lived here for a while” and loves it.
“I personally really (encourage) Hong Kong people to live in Richmond because we are similar to each other.”
In February, the Legislative Council of Hong Kong proposed a bill, known as the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill, that will allow all criminal suspects from Hong Kong be sent to China for trial.
Citizens of Hong Kong saw the bill as a way of China tightening their authority on the city and took demonstrations and protests to the streets for the last 14 weeks.
If the Hong Kong government passes the extradition bill in the future, the “one country, two systems” rule may crumble along with Hong Kong’s own legal system, multiple political parties and rights and free speech.