Hong Kong, February 17 (ANI): In the wake of the imposition of national security law, Hong Kong appears to be losing its sheen and, as a result, global talent is leaving the Asian financial hub.
On the economic front, global rating agencies have reduced projected GDP growth in 2022 from earlier 3 per cent to 1.5 per cent now. On the political side, the European Union has passed a resolution condemning the deterioration of human rights and freedoms. Adding to that is China's 'Zero-Covid' policy, which is making things worse further.
The HK Post reported that all these factors may lead Hong Kong to the risk of losing its high status.
A Hong Kong-based finance industry American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong (AmCham) said about 53 per cent of firm leaders considered leaving Hong Kong. "This place is sheer lunacy - so many people are leaving. Even Bank of America just announced huge downsizing to shake things up."
Tara Joseph, President of the AmCham said: "The Hong Kong I have known for 20 years has been going, going and gone. A new Hong Kong is emerging. Now it's a very painful period of time."
According to The HK Post, the frustration over political crackdowns and stringent governing laws are driving the local Hong Kongers to leave the city. The report added that some 90,000 people left the city between June 2020 and June 2021, leaving its population at about 7.39 million.
"With everything that's happening in Hong Kong, the strict quarantine rules and the National Security Law, banks and companies across the broader financial services sector are looking at their footprints in the region and where they want people-based," said Hong Kong-based Simon Roberts, Chairman for Asia at an executive search firm Sheffield Haworth.
Lastly, China's zero-Covid strategy has adversely affected the city. The zero-Covid strategy has failed in the face of the latest Omicron wave.
Hong Kong's insistence on sending all positive cases to hospitals, irrespective of the severity, has led to at least one hospital being so overwhelmed it was forced to move patients on gurneys outside, lining them up in the parking lot, reported CNN.
Meanwhile, a raft of tightened restrictions and targeted lockdowns have led many experts and residents to question the sustainability of such an approach as the city enters the third year of the pandemic.
On Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping took the unusual step of directly calling on Hong Kong officials to take "all necessary measures."
Xi's intervention has raised fears that further restrictions similar to those seen in mainland China, including a possible citywide lockdown, could soon follow, reported CNN. (ANI)