Company manager, in her 30s
"We still go to work like normal, it’s just heartbreaking when we watch the news and see others heartbreak. All of my friends are talking about moving to the UK but it is a tough situation for us because we’re not sure if we can get a job and we don’t really have friends over there. It’s definitely an option for those who really have a hard time right now but you have to have at least 2 million Hong Kong dollars to move and not many of us do. I haven’t heard of anyone moving to the UK now or in the future, they were just thinking about somewhere closer to Hong Kong, which is our home, and which we all love. But it’s good to have the option. We’ll probably go to other countries like Malaysia or Taiwan rather than the UK. Maybe it’s just a temporary move for a short time to see how things develop. I have a few friends who moved to Taiwan already or who are doing the application to move. You can pay around 500,000 HKD and the living expenses there are already lower than Hong Kong. If anyone has savings they will be fine.
"The main reason my friends are moving is if they have children. They are terrified about the education system and they can’t afford to pay for the international schools.
"For me, I want to stay. I would leave if I was afraid of being arrested or if they were going to send me to a prison camp. Privately we can still have freedom of speech. But I do already self-censor. I am deleting all my past posts on Facebook.
"We are holding on. There have been a lot of dark moments over the past year. They’ve been doing these things to us over the past year and they’ve just put it into law now. We are strong, and we are doing what we can to protect others."
Solicitor in his 40s
"From a legal point of view, I would definitely wish to leave Hong Kong. Simply stated, they can now do whatever they want to us. As a solicitor in my 40s, with few savings, it would be difficult to do so from an economic standpoint.
"Professionally, I am bound to this territory and unable to relocate anywhere else. I’m unable to withstand the economic pressure of emigrating from Hong Kong. I’m stuck. Of course, I am very grateful to the UK about the BNO arrangement but I’ve heard that the UK has quite a lot of hot issues right now itself with restarting the economy. The economy in the UK is facing very tough challenges. Secondly, when you try to emigrate you also have to consider your family. My parents do not know English and my family and friends are in Hong Kong. I don’t think they wish to emigrate. That’s the second thing holding me back.
"I have only been involved a little bit in the protests, attending the legal rallies of one and two million people last year. There would definitely be a point where I would leave and that would be if I was detained by the government or if my qualification is nullifed because of my political stance. Then I would have no choice. But it is just the second day after the enactment of the law so I have yet to see if there will be any substantial changes."
Academic living overseas with three kids
"My wife and I are using BNO passports but my two sons are using the Hong Kong SAR passport because they were born after 1997. This is one of the questions that we are facing and other families who left Hong Kong in the past five to ten years face a similar problem – we have permanent resident status from another country but we do not yet meet the legal requirement to naturalise. My eldest will be 18 years old next year and it becomes a concern because after one year he cannot go anywhere because his passport will have expired. Hong Kong requires us to go back to get the passport.
"In the long run if we want to stay as a family it would be easier for us to consider the UK as a place to move, but I really need a confirmed job before I can move and for my particular skills that’s tricky. For universities you really need to have an opening in your field before you can move there. I think for young people it will be easier because they have more flexibility than us.
"My kids know what is happening in Hong Kong and the world. A year ago, they already told me that they love their grandparents, who live there, but they are too scared to go back.
"My parents are in their 80s and my mother had a stroke four years ago. She survived but her speech ability dropped. One time I called her around Chinese New Year and my Mum spoke very slowly and told me never come back. She really feels it is unsafe. This is very difficult. My wife is also very upset. Her parents are also in Hong Kong. I don’t know what to say.
"I need to make my decision as soon as possible because my son is now 17. The tricky thing is that we don’t have A-levels here. For my son everything is lumped together – passport, education. I don’t whether the new provision means he can go to the UK by himself. I feel very happy to see what the British prime minister and foreign minister said but at the same time we still have many things to resolve. For me, my main concern is how I can help my kids to be in a place that we feel safe and a place to fulfill their dreams."
Cheng, 35, who works in the legal profession
"I have a 4-year-old daughter and I don't want her to face something that we adults have been reluctant to face. If we stay in Hong Kong in the future, either she will become somebody I don’t know (from an opposite political side) or the one with my same political view who will need to face great pressure (from the government).
"We were not in a mood to pop a champagne to celebrate but I need to consider it for my girl. ‘To emigrate or not’ has been on our family discussion at the table table but my wife agrees with me and thinks that we should leave together as a family.
"The first thing came into my mind was that I had to leave a place that I really love. I cannot bring away with all the people I miss. And I certainly feel guilty to those who cannot leave. The future of Hong Kong will only get grimmer and grimmer.
"Uprooting is never an easy option, especially as my parents are both ill. One has just recovered from a stage-four cancer and another one seems to relapse. They are the reasons why I cannot leave immediately. We have planned to leave in one to two years if possible.
"Everyone in the office talks about this option the entire day. The mood was light in the morning as we thought we may someday become the Brits. But in the afternoon, after the Chinese officials threatened reprisals over BNO passport holders, the room stirred up.
"Most people in Hong Kong know most about the UK is through football. For me, my wife and I spent our honeymoon holiday in London to visit our friend."
Reese, 25, a teacher who is a member of 'Britons in Hong Kong'. They share information about BNO passports
"Hong Kong will be in a dark place. There’s too much to bear after the national security law is imposed. Much freedom has been taken.
"I don't think Hong Kong is very safe. It has become dangerous. Many things doing in Hong Kong, including shouting some slogans and waving flags can be considered a crime. Even appearing in the protests weighs the same.
"The new law will adversely affect the students as the government wants us to teach them about patriotism. What I can see in the future is to brainwash the students with propaganda but not showing the whole picture.
"I will go to the UK for study with my friends as soon as possible. My family didn’t object much to my idea of emigrating with my high school mates but they have showed concerns about the slow growth of world economy. I have tried to explain what happened and will happen in Hong Kong but they have different thoughts. I respect them.
"It will be great if the UK government can give us the offer earlier, as some of us are already in great danger. Moreover, I’m not sure how China will react on this proposal, making uncertainty on those who actually want to leave Hong Kong. It’s the Chinese who disrespect the Declaration after all.
"I have been to the UK before when I was in my childhood. Surprisingly, I found not much difference compared to Hong Kong. Both architectures and systems looked similar to me. When I move to the UK, I hope I can sustain myself economically by finding jobs related to retailing services or food and beverages.
"Hong Kong is always the home to me. I’m saddened to see my home is being changed bit by bit negatively. I will miss the youngsters who defy and defend our rights the most. These are the people who you cannot trade with money or with any tangible sources. They are the ones who make Hong Kong a better place. I really admire their courage. I believe that someday, we will win.
"I look as if I’m escaping from Hong Kong but I have tried so hard to fight already. I hope to communicate with the locals when I settled down in the UK and talk to them about the problems faced by Hongkongers. I want to help those who are not eligible to get BNOs. We’re not criminals. We’re just people who want to fight for a lifestyle that is friendly and welcome everyone to speak their minds but not like China’s.”
"I believe that one day, Hong Kong will gain back the light and have our voices to be heard."