Britain has taken a large and commendable step in this direction. On Thursday Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that “if China continues down this path,” some 350,000 Hong Kongers will be allowed to stay longer and work in the U.K., “and that will itself provide a pathway to future citizenship.” On Friday the U.K. clarified that this could apply to some 2.9 million British Nationals (Overseas) in Hong Kong, which it ruled for some 150 years until 1997.
The Trump Administration should also make visas available to Hong Kong people who want to immigrate to the U.S. Those who have protested in Hong Kong already have a “well-founded fear of persecution” and would thus qualify for asylum under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Or they could be promptly admitted under a provision known as parole under the same law. Canada and Australia joined the U.S. and Britain in a statement of solidarity this week, and they could offer visas too.
This is the kind of Reaganesque move that would remind the world of America’s big heart and faith in freedom. It would certainly be heard in Beijing, which would watch in horror as hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong Chinese took up the visa offers. The U.S. would benefit from a rush of new talent that is well educated and entrepreneurial.