Recently, a local media outlet published an article with the headline “Around 7,600 Hongkongers emigrated to foreign countries in 2016, a 3-year high.” The article gets these figures from applications for “certificate of no criminal conviction” from the police. These certificates are used not only for immigration but for applying to certain jobs. Still, the 7,600 figure is an estimation as there is no statistic on actual emigrations.
Media tells us that HongKongers are fleeing en mass
The article then paints a picture that since Occupy Protests of 2014, HongKongers have been fleeing Hong Kong en mass for overseas. I would like to point out that although these numbers (technically, estimates) may seem to suggest something, the media only tells you one side of the story. What they haven’t told you is that there are more than 200,000 HongKongers who have emigrated to Mainland China for work alone.
HongKongers are increasingly migrating to Mainland
In a 2010 Government survey, it was found that about 175,000 Hong Kong residents worked in Mainland China. In the survey, it was identified that back in 1995, 3.4% of Hong Kong’s working population was required to work in Mainland China. In 2004, the percentage had increased to 7.2%, though the number was dropped to 4.9% in 2010. Nevertheless, it seems that work migration to the Mainland is a part of Hong Kong life.
More than 200,000 have already emigrated to Mainland
According to Government figures, in 2015, Hong Kong’s working population was 3.91 million, 61.2% of the total population aged 15 and over. If 5% of Hong Kong’s working population had emigrated to China for work, then about 200,000 HongKongers now currently work in China. Remember, this figure does not include HongKongers taking on PRC employment contracts and others who emigrated to China, for family or retirement.
I’m not disputing that HongKongers don’t want to emigrate overseas. I’m simply showing that there are always both sides of every story. The media never tells you what they don’t want you to know, and statistics (or even “estimates”) can be interpreted both ways. Take the news at face value and always ask why the media is trying to paint this picture. There’s always a reason for their cherry picking.