According to the results of a survey conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce (Amcham), most U.S. companies in Hong Kong have concerns regarding the draconian changes imposed by China on Hong Kong in the garb of a new national security law in the global financial hub; at least one third of these companies are looking to move assets or business in the long term.
China’s new security law in Hong Kong punishes secession subversion, collusion with foreign forces with prison sentences which include life sentences.
The survey, which was published on Monday and which includes 183 U.S. companies, 15% of Amcham members, showed 36.6% of respondents were “somewhat” concerned while 51% were “extremely concerned” about the legislation. More than two-thirds of the respondents were more concerned than a month ago.
This legislation has essentially been a vehicle for Beijing to expand the operation of its intelligence agencies to openly operate in the city for the first time; it also provides the police and mainland agents broad powers that are beyond the scrutiny of courts, raising a spectrum of broad worries for international companies in Hong Kong.
Nearly 65% were concerned about the “ambiguity in its scope and enforcement” with around 61% concerned about the independence of Hong Kong’s judicial system.
More than 50% were concerned about Hong Kong’s status as a global finance center as well as the erosion of the high degree of autonomy it was promised 23 years ago.
Some of the major concerns that international companies have to mitigate in Hong Kong includes data security, retaliatory measures by other governments, talent drain, the prospect of extraditions to mainland China where courts are controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.
Around 49% of the respondents said, the imposition of this law would negatively impact their business; 13% felt it would have a positive impact.
30% are likely to move assets, capital or business out of Hong Kong in the medium-to-long term, while 5% are considering doing it in the short-term.
Around 50% felt less safe living and working in Hong Kong and are personally considering leaving the city.